Cassell's Illustrated History of England/Volume 3/Chapter 10

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CHAPTER X.

CHARLES II.

Conduct of Charles on his Restoration—Assembling of the Two Houses of Parliament, called the Convention Parliament—The Royal Council—Grants of the Excise. Customs, &c., to the Crown Abolition of the great Feudal Services—Entire Revolution of the System of Taxation by these Measures—Trials and Executions oi the Regicides—The Remains of Cromwell and others of the Commonwealth Leaders exhumed, cast out of Westminster Abbey, and mutilated —Revolution in Landed Property—Restoration of Bishops and Church Property—Transactions in Scotland—Trial and Execution of Argyll and others—Bishops restored in Scotland and in Ireland—Disputes regarding their handed Property—Their Settlement—National Immorality —Marriage of James, Duke of York, to the daughter of Chancellor Hyde—Marriage of the Princess Henrietta to the Duke of Orleans—Sale of Dunkirk—Declaration of Indulgence—Its Unpopularity—Conventicle Act—Hostilities against Holland—New Method of Taxation—Privileges of the Clergy curtailed—Naval Victory—Plague in London—Captures and Failures at Sea—Parliament at Oxford—Five Mile Act—French and Dutch unite—Four days Sea-fight—Great Fire of London.

The new king did not want sense. He was naturally clever, witty, and capable of a shewd insight into the natures and purposes of men. He gave a proof of all these qualities in the observation which we have recorded, at the close of the day when he was again replaced in his paternal mansion, that everybody assured him that they had always ardently desired his return, and that if they were to be believed, there was nobody in fault for his not having come back sooner but himself. But with many qualities, which, if united to a fine moral nature, would have made him a most popular monarch, he was utterly destitute of this fine moral nature. He had had much, long, and varied experience of mankind, and had alternately seen their base adulation to royalty in power, and their baser treatment of princes in misfortune. The contempt and neglect which he had experienced when a wandering and penniless refugee, contrasted with the luxury and flattery of a palace in which he had been brought up, must have excited contempt in return; and the sudden reflux to the most fulsome and creeping homage when the crown was again within his reach could only have deepened this feeling. But to a wise and good man this knowledge, whilst it made him prudently distrustful of the professions and fidelity of corn-tiers, would have inspired him with a deep feeling of the sole value of truth and virtue, and that the stability of a throne depended alone on the cultivation of the real interests of a nation. He had not been without abundant examples of the most generous devotion amongst the people. In his flight after the battle of Worcester, he had been concealed, supported, protected, and conveyed out of the kingdom through a thousand dangers, and at the mortal risk of those who performed these services. He had learned, therefore, that beyond the hollow ground of a court, beyond the mob of greedy adventurers and wrestlers for promotion, there existed in the hearts of the people substantial goodness and heroic devotion. So long as he displayed a gallant and a chivalrous spirit in asserting his own rights, the same gallant and chivalrous feeling was kindled in the spirit of the nation, and not only did his own party, but even his enemies, do justice to his merits. His dangers, adventures, and hairbreadth escapes were the theme of song and applause, which long circulated in enthusiastic tones round the firesides of the same England which had punished his father for his treason to the state.

But Charles had not the nobility to benefit by this knowledge. He had familiarised himself with every species of vice and dissipation. He was become thoroughly heartless and degraded. His highest ambition was to live, not for the good and glory of his kingdom, but for mere sensual indulgence. He was habituated to a fife of the basest debauchery, and surrounded by those who were essentially of the same debased and worthless character. To such a man had the nation—after all its glorious struggles and triumphs for the reduction of the lawless pride of royalty, and after the decorous and rigorous administration of the commonwealth—again surrendered its fate and fortunes, and surrendered them without almost any guarantee. The declaration of Breda was the only security which they had, and that was rendered perfectly nugatory by the reservation of all decisions on those questions to a parliament which the court could control and corrupt. Monk, who was a more cautious adventurer, had taken care to stipulate for himself, and received his reward; but he had not bestowed a thought on the nation, and was therefore a traitor of the deepest dye.

Perhaps no country ever presented a more despicable attitude than England at this moment. The country which had pulled down despotic royalty from its pride of place, and given a terrible example to the occupiers of thrones throughout the world; which had shown that the sons of the nation at large could supersede kings, nobles, and all artificial orders, and conduct the affairs of the community with a vigour, justice, and ability which had had no parallel since the days of Alfred; which had made all other nations bow in profound respect before its power and Christian principle, was now, or at least its representatives, crawling at the foot of the throne, at the feet of this crowned debauché, with a servility and almost blasphemy of language, which no slave of an eastern despot ever surpassed.

The nobles, who had shown such utter and contemptible imbecility, who had shrunk before the strong men of the people into a most pitiable and abject spectacle, and had been voted as useless, and extinguished as a body, once more reappeared in their pride, as if they had saved the throne instead of falling headlong with it; bishops, swearing and drinking cavaliers, hosts of greedy adventurers eager to fix themselves like leeches on the fat sides of the nation, pimps, panders, and courtesans in shoals rushed on and filled the palace and all the houses around it. The foreign ambassadors, representatives of kings and countries which had treated Charles in his outcast condition with very little ceremony, and who had paid all homage to Oliver and Richard Cromwell, were now loud in their expressions of congratulation. The lords and commons emulated each other in their professions of veneration and loyalty. The earl of Manchester, formerly lord Kimbolton, whose attempted arrest along with the five commoners had led to the outbreak of what was now styled the rebellion, addressed Charles on behalf of the peers, as a "great and devout king," as the "son of the wise," "a native king," "a son of the ancient kings," and assuring him of his and the national conviction that he would prove one of the greatest, wisest, and best kings that ever reigned. Manchester knew very well what was the confirmed character of the king, new thirty years of age, and therefore the sickening sycophancy of this language may be judged of. In the commons Sir Harbottle Grimstone, as speaker, but who had formerly held very different language in parliament, declared him "the king of hearts," and painted the future glories and felicities of his reign in the most extravagant terms. In such musical croakings did the frogs receive their new king stork.

Monk presented to the king a paper containing a list of names of such persons as he professed to consider the most eligible for the royal service either in the council or the ministry. But Clarendon, who was the king's great adviser, having adhered to him and his interests ever since his escape to the continent, perused the catalogue with no little surprise. It consisted, he tells us, "of the principal persons of the presbyterian party, to which Monk was thought to be most inclined, at least to satisfy the foolish and unruly inclinations of his wife. There were likewise the names of some who were most notorious in all the factions; and of some who, in respect of their mean qualities and meaner qualifications, nobody could imagine how they came to be named."

They were, in fact, such as had been thrust on Monk by the parliamentary leaders, who were all striving to secure their; own interests, and not even the presbyterians, foreseeing! how severely they were punishing themselves by the restoration of the monarchy. Monk, on the chancellor's remonstrance as to many of these names—amongst which only those of the marquis of Hereford and the earl of Southampton belonged to men who had at all adhered to the royal cause—soon let him into the secret, that they were such as had importuned him to do them good offices with the king, and that he never intended to do more than forward the paper, and leave the king to do as he pleased. Clarendon soon, therefore, made out a very different list of names for the privy council, though ho found it politic to insert almost as many names of the presbyterians as of royalists, but with the purpose of gradually changing them.

The first privy council of Charles, therefore, consisted of the king's brothers, the dukes of York and Gloucester, the marquis of Ormond, the earls of Lindsay, Southampton, Manchester, St. Albans, Berkshire, Norwich, Leicester, and Northumberland, the marquises of Hertford and Dorchester, lords Saye and Sele, Seymour, Culpepper, Wentworth, Roberts, and Berkeley, Sir Frederick Cornwallis, Sir George Carteret, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Sir Edward Nicholas, general Monk, and Morrice, his creature, who had assisted in the negotiations with the king, colonel Charles Howard, Arthur Annesley, Denzell Hollis, and Montague, general, or rather admiral, for as yet no distinctly naval officer was known—military commanders fought either on sea or land.

Amongst these Clarendon was lord chancellor and prime minister, the duke of York was already appointed lord high admiral, to which was now added the wardenship of the Cinque Ports and other offices. Sir Edward Nicholas and Morrice were joint secretaries of state; the earl of Southampton was made lord treasurer; the marquis of Ormond lord steward; and the earl of Manchester lord chamberlain. Monk was appointed commander-in-chief of all the forces in the three kingdoms, according to stipulation, and to this office was now added that of master of the horse, and he was created duke of Albemarle^ in addition to several inferior titles. His wife, who was originally a milliner, and after that had been his mistress, now figured boldly and ambitiously amongst the ladies of the court.

The reign of iniquity, which was inaugurated with blood, carried through with the most unheard of and unabashed lust and profanity, and terminated again in judicial carnage, had a few days of festivity and pretended decorum. The king had promised liberty to. tender consciences in his declaration of Breda, but the presbyterians, some thousands of whose ministers occupied the state pulpits, were quickly startled by the order for the strict compliance with the thirty-nine articles; but to make this bitter pill go down more easily, Charles put an outward restraint on his usually profligate manners, and even appointed Baxter and Calamy, the great nonconformist divines, amongst the number of his chaplains. To gratify the city ho wont in state to dine with the lord mayor, and made a liberal distribution of the honours of knighthood amongst the civic officers. He then revived that singular function of royalty—touching for the "king's evil," performing this ceremony publicly at Whitehall, to the great horror of the puritans.

The parliament, both lords and commons, lost no time in seizing all such of the late king's judges as survived or were within the kingdom. The parliament, which had no proper election, having been summoned by no lawful authority, but at Monk's command, and had obtained the name of Convention Parliament, passed an act, which Charles authenticated, to legalise themselves, notwithstanding which it was still called by the old name of the convention. Before the king could arrive, however, they had seized Clement, one of the king's judges, and ordered the seizure of the goods and estates of all the other regicides. On the king's arrival Denzell Hollis and the presbyterians— whose resentment against the independents, who had so often put them out of parliament, blinded by their desire of vengeance to the fact that the royalists would not be long in turning on them who had done their best to dethrone Charles I., though they had not joined in putting him to death—now went in a body to Whitehall, and, throwing themselves at Charles's feet, confessed that they were guilty of the horrid crime of rebellion, and implored the king's grace and pardon. Charles affected the most magnanimous clemency, and recommended them to pass a bill of indemnity, which he had promised from Breda. But this apparent liberality was only the necessary step to the completion of his vengeance, for the declaration left to parliament such exceptions as it thought proper; and in the present complying, dust-licking mood of parliament, these exceptions would be just as numerous as the court required. Monk had, in negotiating with Charles and Clarendon, recommended that only four should be excepted, but Clarendon and the king had long made up their minds that few of the king's judges should escape; and in this they were boldly urged on by the royalists, who, says Clarendon, could not bear to meet the men on the king's highways, now they were the king's again, who rode on the very horses they had plundered them of, and had their houses and estates in possession.

The commons were as ready as the court for vengeance against their late successful rivals and masters; and though Monk again urged that not more than seven should be excepted on a capital charge, they decided for ten, all to be tried for their lives, namely, Scott, Holland, Lisle, Barkstead, Harrison, Saye, Jones, Coke, the solicitor, Broughton. clerk to the high court of justice, and Dendy, who had acted as serjeant-at-arms during the trial. They then requested the king to order by proclamation all those concerned in his late father's trial to surrender themselves within fourteen days. About a score felt it much the safest to escape across the sea, but nineteen surrendered—all but the ten doomed to death imagining they should escape with some minor punishment. But the thirst for vengeance became every day more violent.

The commons named twenty more for exception, whose lives were to be spared, but who were to suffer forfeiture of estate and perpetual imprisonment. These were Vane, St. John, Haselrig, Ireton, brother of the deceased major-general, Desborough, Lambert, Fleetwood, Axtell, Sydenham, Lenthall, Burton, Keeble, Pack, Blackwell, Pyne, Deane, Creed, Nye, Goodwin, and Cobbett. Moreover, all such as had not surrendered to the late proclamation were excluded from the benefit of the bill of indemnity.

This sanguinary list, however, did not satisfy the lords when the bill was sent up to them. They had suffered such indignities from the independent leaders, that they could not bring themselves to forgive, and they altered the bill, voting that every man who had sate on the king's trial, or signed the death warrant, should be tried as traitors for their lives. They went even farther, and excepted six others, who had neither sate nor voted—namely, Vane, Hacker, Lambert, Haselrig, Axtell, and Peters; and as if luxuriating in revenge, they allowed the relatives of several of their own body who had been put to death under the commonwealth, amongst whom were the earl of Derby and the duke of Hamilton, to sit as judges. The commons accepted the bill as thus altered, and would have made it still more atrocious, but the king, who was extremely pressed for money, sent desiring them to come to an end with this bill, and hasten the money bill.

The commons voted the king seventy thousand pounds a month for present necessities, and then proceeded to pass not only the indemnity bill, but to vote the king a liberal and permanent revenue. In striking contrast to the early parliaments of his father, they at once gave him the tonnage and poundage for life. This was one of the chief causes of the quarrel betwixt Charles I. and his parliament, one of the main causes of the war and of his decapitation, which this complying parliament now yielded at once. They, moreover, ordered the disbanding of the army, of which Charles was afraid, and that the 29th of May should be kept as a day of perpetual thanksgiving to Providence, for having restored his sacred majesty to a grateful nation. All these favours to Charles they offered with the humility of men who were seeking favours for themselves, and being urged by Charles to settle the amount of his revenue altogether, they appointed a committee of inquiry on the subject, which decided that, as the income of his father had been about one million one hundred thousand pounds, his income should, considering the different value of money, be fixed at the unexampled sum of one million two hundred thousand pounds per annum. This income was to be settled by a bill in the next session.

The question of religion, and the question of forfeited property, whether belonging to the crown, the church, or individuals, was next brought on, and led to most stormy discussions. The result was, that two bills were passed, called the Bill of Sales and the Ministers' Bill. By the Bill of Sales all the crown lands were ordered to be restored forthwith; but the church lands were left in abeyance for the present; the lands of individuals were also deferred to a future session. The Ministers' Bill was intended to expel from the pulpits of the church all such ministers as had been installed there since the parliament came into power. It did not, however, give satisfaction to the church, for it admitted all such as entered on legally vacant livings at the time to retain them. A considerable number of presbyterian clergymen thus remained in possession, but the independents were thoroughly excited by a clause which provided that all ministers who had not been ordained by an ecclesiastic, who had interfered in the matter of infant baptism, or had been concerned in the trial of the king, or in its justification from press or pulpit, were excluded. Thus the royalists were incensed at the Bill of Sales, which they called an indemnity bill for the king's enemies, and of oblivion for his friends, and the clergy of the church were equally enraged to see a great number of livings still left to the presbyterians.

On the 13th of September Charles prorogued the parliament till the 6th of November, and promised during the recess to have what was called the "healing question of religion," that is the settlement of the church, discussed by competent parties, and to publish a declaration on the subject. Accordingly the presbyterians were very soon promised a meeting with some of the episcopalian clergy, and they were very willing, seeing that they could no longer have matters their own way in the church, to accept a platform of compromise laid down by archbishop Usher before his death, in which scheme the church was to be governed by a union of suffragan bishops and synods or presbyteries, so as to unite the two great sects. But the foremost prelates and clergy of the episcopalian church, who were resolved to have the whole state church to themselves, would listen to nothing so liberal or unorthodox. They refused to meet the presbyterian clergy, and therefore Charles summoned the leaders of that sect to meet some of his chief privy councillors and ministers, as well as various bishops, at Whitehall, where Baxter and Calamy again proposed Usher's scheme, which was as zealously rejected by the episcopalians. The presbyterians quoted the Eikon Basilike, to show that Charles I. was favourable to Usher's plan, but there Charles, who knew very well that the book was Dr. Gander's, and not his father's, dryly remarked that all in that work was not gospel. But what proved a complete damper to all parties, was a proposal read by Clarendon as having the king's approbation, namely, that others, besides the two parties in question, should have full liberty for religious worship, and should not be disturbed by magistrate or peace officer provided they themselves did not disturb the peace. This was at once felt to mean toleration to the catholics as wall as the nonconformists, and was received with silent repugnance.

On the 25th of October was issued the promised declaration for healing the strife. It went to unite the presbyterian form of government with the episcopal. There were to be presbyteries and synods, and no bishop was to ordain ministers or exercise the censures of the church without the advice and assistance of the presbyteries. Presbyters were to be elected deans and canons; a number of divines of each sect was to be chosen by the king to revise the liturgy, and all points of difference should be left unsettled till this revision was made; and no person should be molested on account of taking the sacrament standing or kneeling, for making the sign of the cross in baptism or not making, for bowing or not bowing at the name of Jesus, for wearing or not wearing the surplice. The presbyterians were delighted at the prospect thus afforded of free admission to good livings and dignities; but the episcopalians intended nothing less than that any such thing should ever come to pass.

With more earnest intention the government proceeded to judge the regicides, and soon stepped up to the knees in blood. On the 9th of October the trials commenced at the Old Bailey, before thirty-four commissioners appointed for the purpose. These were Sir Thomas Alleyn, lord mayor elect, lord chancellor Clarendon, the earl of Southampton, the duke of Somerset, the duke of Albemarle, the marquis of Ormond, the earls of Lindsay, Manchester, Dorset, Berkshire, Sandwich, late admiral Montague, the lords Saye and Sele, Roberts, and Finch, Sir Frederick Cornwallis, Sir Charles Berkeley, Denzell Hollis, Mr Secretary Nicholas, Mr. Secretary Morrice, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Arthur Annesley, Esq., Sir. Justice Foster, Mr. Justice Mallet, Mr Justice Hyde, Mr. Baron Atkins, Sir Justice Twisden, Mr Justice Tyrrol, Mr. Baron Turner, Sir Harbottle Grimstone, Sir William Wild, recorder of London, Mr. Serjeant Brown, Mr. Serjeant Hale, and Mr. John Howel. The counsel for the crown were Sir Geoffrey Palmer, attorney-general. Sir Heneage Finch, solicitor-general. Sir Edward Turner, attorney to the duke of York, Serjeant Keeling, and Mr Wadham Windham.

Perhaps it would be impossible, in all the long history of oppressions, to point out a set of more objectionable judges. They consisted of the present king's ministers, the ordinary judges yet depending on the crown, and therefore not free from suspicion of bias, royalists, and of presbyterians who had been mortally opposed to the republican regicides, and who had all been grievously beaten and humiliated by them. Every evil passion was, therefore, let loose from the bench on the devoted prisoners, and the known expectation of the court; was not, therefore, likely to be disappointed. That such men as Monk, who had continued Cromwell's right hand man to the last, Denzell Hollis, the earl of Manchester, Finch, Annesley, and Bridgman, Ashley Cooper, Saye and Sele, who had all been engaged in the war against Charles I., should be suffered to sit in judgment on their fellow revolutionists, was monstrous. True bills were found against nineteen of the prisoners, namely—Sir Hardress Waller, Harrison, Carew, Cook, Hugh Peters, Scott, Clement, Scrope, Jones, Hacker, Axtell, Heveningham, Marten, Millington, Tichbourn, Row, Kilburn, Harvey, Pennington, Smith, Downes, Potter, Garland, Fleetwood, Meyn, J, Temple, P. Temple, Hewlet, and Waite.

The first man tried was Waller, who pleaded guilty, and had his life spared; the second was Harrison, the late major-general. Harrison was a sincere and honest fifth-monarchy man. He conscientiously believed that Christianity required all governments to be carried on in the name and under the authority of the Saviour. He was not wrong in his doctrine, which all true Christians hold, but in his imagination that the world was a world capable of such a government for ages to come. He was an enthusiast, but no fool. On the contrary, he had on all occasions shown the perfect command which Christian principles had over his mind; and well would it have been for the world could it have adopted his faith. He had borne his decided testimony against Cromwell for his usurpation of the supreme authority, and had been imprisoned by him for it. He now stood before the court with the simple and heroic dignity of a man who felt assured that his views were sound, and that his heart was upright before God. Hume, in describing this scene, says, "Can anyone without concern for human blindness and ignorance consider the demeanour of general Harrison when brought to his trial? With great courage and elevation of sentiment, he told the court that the pretended crime of which he stood accused, was not a deed done in a corner. The sound of it had gone forth to most nations; and in the singular and marvellous conduct of it, had chiefly appeared the sovereign power of heaven. That he himself, agitated by doubts, had often, with passionate tears, offered up his addresses to the Divine Majesty, and earnestly sought for light and conviction. He had still received the assurance of heavenly sanction, and returned from these devout supplications with more serious tranquillity and satisfaction. That all the nations of the earth were, in the eyes of their Creator, less than a drop in the bucket, nor were their erroneous judgments aught but darkness compared with divine illuminations That these frequent illapses of the Divine Spirit he could not suspect to be interested illusions, since he was conscious that for no temporal advantage would he offer injury to the poorest man or woman that trod the earth. That all the allurements of ambition, all the terrors of imprisonment, had not been able, during the usurpation of Cromwell, to shake his steady resolution, or bind him to a compliance with that deceitful tyrant. That when invited by him to sit on the right hand of the throne, when offered riches and splendour and dominion, he had disdainfully rejected all temptations; and, neglecting the tears of his friends and family, had still, through every danger, held fast his principles and his integrity."

The blindness and ignorance our times will apply to the historian rather than to the prisoner. Harrison stood there the undaunted patriot, who had acted conscientiously, the result of sincere prayer and application to God. He had not done in a fit of enthusiasm what cooler moments had led him to repent. He retained the same conviction of his having done what was right, a conviction that we believe will be shared by a large majority who weigh that great action, its motives, its necessity, and its consequences. No accused patriot ever stood in a more noble and assured attitude than general Harrison, whose life had stamped the reality of his arguments. He added, moreover, unanswerable reasons from the law of the case. He said, "I humbly conceive that what was done, was done in the name of the parliament of England; that what was done, was done by their power and authority; and I do humbly conceive it is my duty to offer unto you in the beginning, that this court, or any court below the High Court of Parliament, hath no jurisdiction of their actions."

P414 Charles II.jpg

Charles II.

But all argument was useless addressed to such ears. Sir Orlando Bridgman, chief baron of the exchequer, who had the chief management of the trials, told the grand jury in his charge that no authority whatever, either of a single person or of parliament, had any coercive power over the king. This man had received very different treatment under the protectorate. He had submitted to Cromwell, who had not only accepted his submission, but had allowed him privately to practice the law, and in this capacity he had acted as spy and agent for Cromwell. He continually interrupted Scott, Carew, and others, when they justified their conduct on the same ground of parliamentary sanction. The people, notwithstanding their late acclamations, could not help raising loud murmurs at these arbitrary interruptions. The prisoners defended themselves with calm intrepidity, and when Bridgman retorted on Carew that the parliament that he talked of was the commons alone, a thing without precedent, Carew replied, "there never was such a war, or such a precedent; "and he boldly upbraided Bridgman with giving evidence as a witness whilst sitting as a judge. All these were condemned to death.

The clever and facetious Harry Marten made a most ingenious and persevering defence, and extremely puzzled the commissioners. He took exception to the indictment, declaring that he was not even mentioned in it. When He was shown the name Henry Marten, he objected that that was not his name, which was Harry Marten. This was overruled, but he went on to plead that the statute of Henry
P415 King Charles II. Entering London.jpg

KING CHARLES II. ENTERING LONDON.

VIII. exempted from high treason any one acting under a king de facto, though he should not be king de jure, that the parliament at that time was the supreme power, including the functions of both king and parliament; that it was, in fact, the only authority there was in the country; and that it had from age to age been contended and admitted that God indicated the rightful power by giving it victory. Such was the authority that God at the time had set over them, and under that they had acted. His arguments were thrown away, and it was on this occasion that the story was first given in evidence by a soldier, of he and Cromwell, on the signing of the death warrant of the king, wiping their pens on each other's faces.

After a trial in which every ingenious and valid plea was advanced by the prisoners to deaf ears, all were condemned to death, but ten only were at present executed—Harrison, Scott, Carer,', Jones, Clement, Scrope, Coke, Axtell, Hacker, and Hugh Peters, Cromwell's chaplain. Peters, by his enthusiasm and wild eloquence, had undoubtedly roused the spirit of the parliamentarians, and especially of the army, but he had had no particular concern in the king's death, and had often exerted himself to obtain mercy and kind treatment not only for the king, but for suffering royalists. He declared on the trial that he had never been influenced by interest or malice in all that he had done. That he never received a farthing from Cromwell for his services, and that he had no hand in exciting the war, for he was abroad fourteen years, and found the war in full action on his return. Peters, whose character has been greatly maligned by the cavaliers And their historians, appears really to have been a sincere and upright patriot; but his pleas were as useless as those of all the others.

"No saint or confessor ever went to martyrdom," says Hume, "with more assured confidence of heaven, than was expressed by these criminals, even when the terrors of immediate death, joined to many indignities, were set before them." In fact, they had done a great deed on principle, and they felt sure of the approval of God and of posterity. They declared, when called on to repent of their act, that they dared not repent of the death of the king; that to repent of a good deed was offence to God; that they were proud to suffer for such a cause, and they confidently proclaimed that their martyrdom would be the most glorious spectacle that the world had seen since the death of Christ; and that their blood would be assuredly avenged, and the cause of monarchy crouch before advancing independence. Little did their judges dream how soon their words were to be verified.

Harrison was drawn first to Charing Cross on a hurdle. His conduct was cheerful and even animated, as with triumph he declared that many a time he had begged the Lord, if he had any hard, any reproachful, or contemptible service to be done by his people, that he might be employed in it; and that now his prayers were answered. Several times he cried out as he was drawn along, that he suffered in the most glorious cause in the world; and when a low wretch asked him, "Where's your good old cause now?" he replied, "Here it is!" clapping his hand on his heart, "and I am going to seal it with my blood." He was put to death with all the horrors of the most barbarous times, cut down


alive, his bowels torn out whilst ho was alive, and then his quivering heart held up to the people. Charles witnessed this revolting scene at a little distance, and yet that heartless man let the whole of the condemned suffer the same bloody barbarities. They all wont to their hideous death with the same heroic spirit, and in order to daunt the old preacher, Hugh Peters, he was taken to see the hanging, drawing, and quartering of Coke, but it only seemed to animate him all the more. The effect of tins and of the addresses of the undaunted regicides from the scaffold was such, that the people began to show evident disgust of these cruelties; and when Scott's turn cam.e, they endeavoured to drown his words, so that he said it must be a very bad cause that could not hear the words of a dying man. But the words and noble courage of these dying men. Bishop Burnet observes, "their show of piety, their justifying all they had done, not without a seeming joy for their suffering on that account, caused the king to be advised not to proceed further, or at least not to have the scene so near the court as Charing Cross."

Whilst these butcheries of some of the most heroic men which this country has produced, who had counselled, fought, and now died for the liberties of England, illustrated the real spirit of the so-called merry monarch, and of these much admired fine gentlemen, his cavalier court, they were making the British public sensible in another way of the precious golden calf of royalty that they had been so rapturously bowing down to, by the display of the most undisguised riot and licentiousness. Whitehall was crowded with pimps, panders, loose women, and still looser men, clamouring for titles and fortunes, and, amid the sanguinary exhibitions of Charing Cross, the wildest wickedness disgraced the court. As Nero fiddled whilst Rome was burning, so the modern Nero earned his title of "merry" and "debonair," by laughing whilst the truest men of the country were perishing under his hands. Not even some striking instances of mortality within its own circle could long check its lascivious orgies.

About a month before Harrison's execution, the duke of Gloucester died of small pox; and scarcely were the royal shambles closed for awhile when the princess of Orange, who had come over to congratulate her brother, the king, died of small pox, too. "At court," says Pepys, "things are in very ill-condition, there being so much emulation,poverty, and the vices of drinking, swearing, and loose amours, that I know not what will be the end of it but confusion; and the clergy are so high that all people that I meet with do protest against their practice." Sober people must have looked back with a strange feeling to the sober and manly times of the protectorate.

But death and marriage merriments were oddly mingled in this bacchanalian court. The daughter of old Clarendon, Ann Hyde, was married to the duke of York, and was delivered of a son just six weeks afterwards. The queen-mother, Henrietta Maria, and the princess of Orange, and the princess Henrietta, were violently opposed to so unroyal a marriage, but the old chancellor had the influence with Charles to carry it through, and, instead of a disgrace, to convert it into a triumph. The wily old politician pretended himself to have been not only grossly deceived in the matter.. but to be intensely angry, and told the king, according to his own account, in his autobiography, on hearing the news, that if the marriage had really taken place, he would advise that "the king should immediately cause the woman to be sent to the Tower, and to be cast into a dungeon, under so strict a guard, that no living person should be permitted to come to her; and then that an act of parliament should be immediately passed for cutting off her head, to which he would not only give his consent, but would very willingly be the first to propose it." This picture of the heroism of a savage, however, ill agrees with the accounts of the chancellor's real concern in the matter. Evelyn, in his diary, says, "The queen would fain have undone it, but it seems that matters were reconciled on great offers of the chancellor's to befriend her, who was so much in debt, and was now to have the settlement of her affairs go through his hands." Accordingly, about six weeks after the arrival of Henrietta. Maria at Whitehall the marriage was publicly acknowledged.

Amid all these disgraceful transactions parliament met again on the 6th of November. They proceeded to pass into a bill the king's "healing declaration" regarding religion. The presbyterians were in high spirits, but they were soon made to feel their folly in bringing back the episcopalian church with its episcopalian head. The clergy were not so high for nothing. They knew very well what the king would do when the matter was pressed to an issue, and accordingly the expectant presbyterians found the court party not only voting, but openly speaking against the bill. Morrice, the creature of Monk, and now secretary of state, and Heneage Finch, the solicitor-general, strenuously opposed it, Finch not scrupling to avow that "it was not the king's desire that the bill should proceed." It was thrown out, and the duped presbyterians, instead of persecutors, soon found persecution let loose upon them. The convention parliament having satisfied the court in this measure, proceeded to gratify its ghoulish and worse than hyæna vengeance on the illustrious dead. On the 8th of December they voted the attainder of Oliver Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, and having got this sanction on the 30th of January, 1661, the court, under cover of the clergy's pious zeal, sent a rabble of constables to tear open the graves of these great regicides, to drag their decaying corpses to Tyburn on hurdles, to hang them, to cut them down and behead them, and then throwing their putrid bodies into a hole under the gallows, to stick their heads on poles on the top of Westminster Hall. It would have stamped both king and church with eternal infamy to have only done this vile deed—to have thus treated the senseless remains of the greatest prince, as Macaulay terms him, that ever sate on the English seat of supreme rule since Alfred. But the low, fiendish malice of this despicable monarch could not stop there. He proceeded to perpetrate the same revolting atrocities on the bodies of innocent and virtuous women, and on some of the most illustrious men of our annals. The remains of the brave old mother of Cromwell, and of his amiable daughter, lady Claypole, were dragged forth; that of Dorislaus, the envoy of the parliament who had been murdered by the retainers of this same Charles at the Hague; of Slay, the historian of the parliament, and the excellent translator of Lucan's "Pharsalia;" of Pym, the great and incorruptible champion of English liberty; and of Blake, the most famous admiral that the country had yet produced, whose name alone gave it a world-wide renown. These, and every other body which had been buried in the abbey whilst the commonwealth lasted, were dragged out and flung into a pit in St. Margaret's churchyard.

These were deeds never to be forgiven by Englishmen, deeds which for ever stripped away the ill-applied terms of gentlemen and noble cavaliers from those who did them. In the midst of these diabolical outrages the nation narrowly escaped another, which would have crowned it with eternal infamy. There was a cry to seize and hang the blind old poet of "Paradise Lost," the glorious defender of the people of England, the eloquent advocate of the liberty of the state, the purity of the church, the restricted exercise of thought and word and pen. He was ignominiously seized and dragged by sordid tipstaff hands to prison. The cry was hang him, and only three voices were raised in his favour One of these was that of his illustrious friend, and friend of his country, Andrew Marvel. But the very majesty of his divine genius, even in that terrible age, seemed to withhold the murderous hands of this vile court, and being stripped of his property under the name of fees, and his two famous works, the "Defence of the English People," and his "Eikonoclastes," burned by the hangman, he was suffered to live in poverty and neglect. It is said that Charles, in Milton's old age, had the brutality to pay him a visit, and to insult him with the loss of his eyes as a judgment for his proceedings against the king, to which he is said to have calmly replied, "If that be a judgment on me, what was the judgment on your father? I only lost my eyes, but your father lost his head."

This infamous convention parliament having shown the most abject servility to the libertine king, a bargain was now driven with it, which marks one of the greatest epochs in our history. We desire to draw the particular attention of our readers to this event, as by it the whole system of our taxation was changed, and the burden of it shifted from the shoulders of the aristocracy to those of the people; a change which was no sooner effected than the system of creating a national debt commenced, which has grown into the enormous amount of upwards of eight hundred millions sterling. Our modern historians, however—striking and unparalleled as has been this fiscal revolution, leading to enormous and incessant wars, to boundless extravagance in our government, and to all the evils of parliamentary corruption—have passed slightly over it. Some of them have just mentioned the fact that the feudal tenures were abolished, and the excise granted as a permanent revenue to the crown, and others, that the aristocracy obtained thus a release from their feudal obligations, but did not release their feudal tenants, but not one of them has perceived, or if so, has followed out the stupendous consequences of this change, one of the most vast and momentous in our history. Hume does not even allude to it. Knight merely observes generally that " at the restoration properly begins the modern history of the public revenue. That the 12 Car. II. c. 21 granted the king and his heirs and successors for ever, in full and ample recompense and satisfaction for the courts of wards and the prerogative of purveyance, the excise upon ale, beer, and other liquor."

Even Macaulay sees little farther, and makes a gross blunder in stating the simple fact. At the commencement of the second chapter of the first volume of his popular edition of his history, he says, "The history of England, during the seventeenth century, is the history of the transformation of a limited monarchy, constituted after the fashion of the middle ages, into a liberal monarchy, suited to the more advanced state of society in which the public charges can be no longer borne by the estates of the crown, and in which the public defence can be no longer trusted to a feudal militia." He then simply tells us that feudal rights and tenures perished with the crown under the commonwealth, and that at the restoration they were abolished by statute, and that "no relic of the ancient tenures was suffered to remain, except those honorary services which are still, at a coronation, rendered to the person of the sovereign by some lords of manors." And with this slight notice he dismisses the greatest event of modern English history, excepting the establishment of the commonwealth, and the revolution of 1688. In the last portion of the passage, however, he commits a singular oversight, for so far from it being the case that no relic of the feudal tenures was left; the truth was, that whilst the aristocracy freed themselves from their obligations to the crown, they expressly retained the obligations due to themselves from the lesser tenants, namely, all the manorial rights, including the great one of copyhold. Lingard gives a more accurate and comprehensive relation of this great fact.

"But while they (the two houses) provided for the sovereign, they were not unmindful of their own interests. In the preceding reigns, the proprieters of lands had frequently and zealously sought to abolish tenures by knights' service, confessedly the most onerous of the existing feudal burdens; but their attempts were constantly defeated by the monarch and his courtiers, unwilling to resign the benefits of marriages, reliefs, and wardships. Now, however, in this season of reconciliation and mutual concession, the proposal was made and accepted; the terms were arranged to the satisfaction of both parties, and Charles consented to accept a fixed annual income of one hundred thousand pounds in place of the casual but lucrative profits of the court of wards. Still the transaction did little honour to the liberality of the two houses. They refused to extend the benefit to the inferior tenures; and the very act which relieved the lords of the manors from the services which they owed to the crown, confirmed to them the services which they claimed from those who held by tenure of copyright. Neither did they choose to pay the price of the benefit, though it teas to be enjoyed exclusively by themselves. Originally, the authors of the measure intended to raise the compensation by a tax on the lands which had been relieved; the amount had actually been apportioned to the several counties by the committee, when a member, as it were accidentally, asked why they should not resort to the excise. The suggestion was eagerly caught by the courtiers and many of the proprietors. The injustice of compelling the poor to pay for the relief of the rich, though strongly urged, was contemptuously overlooked; and the friends of the motion, on a division in full house, obtained a majority of two. In lieu, therefore, of purveyance, military tenures, and their various incidents, fruits, and dependencies, the produce of one moiety of the excise, a constantly grounding and more profitable branch of revenue than the original compensation, was settled on the crown for ever."—Vol. xi., pp. 195–6, small edition. Lingard curtly adds that soon after they gave the crown the other moiety of the excise, "then producing about three hundred thousand pounds per annum, but now swelled to eighteen million pounds per annum."

Blackstone, however, in his Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 289 and 309, and vol. ii. pp. 77 and 767, throws a far broader light on these transactions and their consequences. He reminds us of the imposition of the various feudal burdens by William the Conqueror on those of his followers, to whom, according to the feudal system, he granted lands For every grant of a certain quantity of land, called a knight's feud, fief, or fee, the said grantee was bound to do personal service in the army of the granter, or feudal lord, forty days in every year, if called upon. "But," says Blackstone, "this personal attendance growing troublesome in many respects, the tenants found means of compounding for it, by first sending others in their stead, and in process of time, by making pecuniary satisfaction to the crown in lieu of it. This pecuniary satisfaction came to be levied by assessment, at so much for every knight's fee, under the name of scutages.

But this knight service, as it was called, involved other exactions, taxes, and subjections, as first—aids, or sums to be paid by the tenant to ransom his lord if taken prisoner, or to make his eldest son a knight, or to marry his eldest daughter. "To which," adds Blackstone, "the tyranny of lords by degrees exacted more and more, as aids to pay the lord's debts, and to enable him to pay aids or reliefs to his superior lord, from which last the king's tenants, in capite, of course, were exempt, as they held immediately of the king, who had no superior, but were paid by those who, according to the feudal system, received grants at second or third hand. Second—reliefs, or fines paid to the lord by the new tenant on taking up his land, upon the death of the father or old tenant. Third—primer seizin, which was paid only by the king's tenants in capite, and was a whole year's profits of the estate, or first fruits, afterwards, by the avarice of the popes, demanded from the clergy. Fourth—Wardship, or the custody of the body and estate of rumors who held under the king. This not only implied that the lord had custody of the body and lands of the ward, without giving any account of the profits till the male ward was twenty-one, and the female sixteen, but also the right to give them in marriage, or levy heavy exactions on them: "These," he continues, "were the principal qualities, fruits, and consequences of tenure by knight service, or tenure by which the greatest part of the lands in these kingdoms were holden, and that principally of the king in capite, till the middle of the last century."

"The families of all our nobles," he says, "groaned under these intolerable burdens, which, in consequence of the fiction adopted after the Conquest, were introduced and levied upon them by the subtlety and finesse of the Norman lawyers. For," he adds, "summing up the facts to which we have referred, besides the scutages to which they were liable in defect of personal attendance, which, however, were assessed by themselves in parliament, they might be called upon by the king or lord paramount for aids, when his eldest son was to be knighted or his eldest daughter married, not to forget the ransom of his own person. The heir, on the death of his ancestor, if of full ago, was plundered of the first emoluments arising from his inheritance by way of relief and primer seizin, and if under age, of the whole of his estate during infancy. Add to this the untimely and expensive honour of knighthood."

But the simple fact is, that these were the natural burdens of these lauds. They were the conditions attending these magnificent grants from the crown of, as he admits, "the greatest part of the lands in these kingdoms." They were, by magna charta, secured to, assessed, and regulated by these landholders themselves in parliament. Burdensome and irritating, therefore, as were many of these conditions, they were not, as a whole, at all disproportionate to the vast benefit given and enjoyed—that of the bulk of their lands of those realms. The annoyances and real hardships of them were capable of being rooted out by act of parliament. But this was not what the aristocracy wanted. They wanted to retain the splendid gift, and get rid of the whole mass of conditions by which it was clogged in the bestowal.

When the people, nowadays, cry out for abolition of tithes and church rates, the aristocracy, and their sons and kinsmen, the clergy, tell us that we have bought our estates subject to these burdens, and that it is nothing but fair and proper that we should bear them. But very different were their feelings and mode of reasoning as to their own natural burdens, the feudal services. These services and payments were, in truth, the reservations made by the crown on giving away the lands, for the maintenance of the crown and government of the country. They were the composition of the aristocracy to the necessary taxation of the realm, or in Blackstone's own words, "were in the nature of a modern land tax." The aristocracy, therefore, wanted neither more nor less than to get rid of their whole land tax, and fling the necessary burden of taxation on the people. They attempted this, it seems, in James I.'s days, and Blackstone tells us that James had, in fact, consented for a proper equivalent, that is, an equivalent tax drawn from the people, to exchange the military tenures for a general fee-farm rent; an expedient, says Blackstone, much better than the hereditary excise. But that scheme with James came to nothing; with Charles they succeeded, for the dissolute and needy monarch was ready to make any terms for money to spend on his mistresses. The bargain was struck, and, to use Blackstone's own words, "the military tenures, with all their heavy appendages, were destroyed at one blow by the statute 12 Car. II. c. 24, which enacts, that the court of wards and liveries, and all wardships, Kveries, primer seizins, and oustre le mains, values and forfeitures of marriages, by reason of any tenure of the king or others, be totally taken away, and that all fines for alienations, tenures by homage, knights' service and escuage, and also aids for marrying the daughter or knighting the son, and all tenures of the king in capite, be likewise taken away, and that all sorts of tenures held of the king or others be turned into free and common exchange, save only in tenures in franklalniagin, copyholds, and the honorary services (without the slavish part) of grand serjeantry. A statute, which was a greater acquisition to the civil property of this kingdom than all magna charta itself, since that only pruned the luxuriances that had grown out of the military tenures, and thereby preserved them in vigour; but the statute of king Charles extirpated the whole, and demolished both root and branches."

Thus did the aristocracy, as our commentator says, "at one blow" abolish the original compact and conditions by which they acquired possession of all their lands, the bulk of the son of England, getting rid at the same time of the heavy rights of purveyance and subsidies on those lands. By this act they established that extraordinary value of their landed property, which has made them at the present day the most astoundingly opulent and powerful aristocracy that ever existed, and has enabled them, by this overwhelming wealth and power, to overthrow the balance of the constitution, and thrust the people out of their rights and their house of representatives. But their selfish proceedings did not stop there. Whilst they freed themselves from their obligations towards their feudal lord, they took care not to free their tenants from their obligations towards them. The copyholders were excepted, and but recently an act, passed to convert copyhold into freehold, shows what a monstrous burden that is, for the cost of freeing about an acre of land, has amounted within our own knowledge to five hundred pounds.

Nor did their selfish proceedings end even there. We shall find that when William III., a stranger and foreigner, came to the throne, they managed to get nearly all his crown lands from him, making him dependent on themselves; and when his wars compelled the imposition of a land tax, they took care that it was a light one, and for the main part falling on personal property. As their lands grew rapidly in value by these exemptions and the industry of the people, this tax would, notwithstanding, have grown to something considerable, and we shall find, as we proceed, that in 1797 they passed an act, declaring that the tax should only be levied on the original assessment of William III. Thus, whilst the land of the aristocracy has been rising to our time to tenfold the value of that period, and the taxation on the public at large has risen from four hundred thousand to upwards of fifty millions sterling a year, the land tax has been stereotyped at two millions thirty-seven thousand six hundred and twenty-seven pounds. At a later day they imposed the corn laws to raise the value of their lands still more at the cost of the people.

It may be said that still the aristocracy bore their share of the taxation thus thrown upon the people. True, but according to their numbers, a very small share in comparison with that from which they exempted themselves. And we have yet to contemplate the greatest of all the changes which this revolution produced. From the moment that the public at large began to pay the taxes, and not the land, the extravagance of government expenditure grew amazingly, and a national debt was commenced. When the people paid, and the aristocracy and their sons and kinsfolk received through government offices, in the army or navy, from that moment the history of our boundless fusion commences. Before this great transfer of taxation from the land to customs, excise, and other popular burdens, it must be borne in mind that there was no debt. So long as the land had to pay the taxes, the aristocracy were not willing to incur a national debt; the moment they had made this transfer, and could, living on their exempted lands, revel in the sweets of taxation, a debt was commenced. Charles, we shall find, borrowed nine hundred thousand pounds of the merchants of London, and soon informed them that he never could repay it, it must remain a debt on the nation, the interest alone being obtainable. The debt thus commenced, has now grown, as the direct consequence of this grand fiscal revolution, to upwards of eight hundred million sterling. Macaulay has well said that this was not the first age of borrowing, but the first of funding.

We have dwelt on this most impudent and greedy transaction of the aristocracy of the restoration—a transaction so glaringly unjust, that it was vehemently opposed by the upright members of the commons, and only passed by a majority of two, the more particularly—because it is the turning point of our whole modern system of taxation, of extravagance, of gigantic wars, which could not otherwise have been carried on, of the huge pressure of our debt, the growth of our taxation, and of the power of that aristocracy and aristocratic interest, by which we are yet mastered, and the perpetual struggle which constitutes the great and onerous warfare of our parliamentary and political life. Englishmen cannot make themselves too intimately familiar with the origin, growth, and all the wonderful ramifications of this grand fiscal revolution.

This great bargain having been completed at the close of the year, the convention parliament was dissolved. The year 1661 opened with a fifth-monarchy riot. Though Harrison and some others of that faith were put to death, and others, as Overton, Desborough, Day, and Courtenay, were in the Tower, there were secret conventicles of these fanatics in the city, and one of these in Coleman Street was headed by a wine cooper of the name of Venner, who, as we have already seen, gave Cromwell trouble in his time. On the night of the 6th of January, Venner, with fifty or sixty other enthusiasts, rushed from their conventicle, where he had been counselling his followers not to preach, but to act. They marched through the city towards St. Paul's, calling on the people to come forth and declare themselves for king Jesus. They drove some of the train-bands before them, broke the heads of opposing watchmen, but were at length dispersed by the lord mayor, supported by the citizens, and fled to Caen Wood, betwixt Highgate and Hampstead. On the 9th, however, they returned again, confident that no weapons or bullets could harm them, and once more they put the train-bands and the king's life-guards to the rout. At length, however, they were surrounded, overpowered, and, after a considerable number were killed, sixteen were taken prisoners, including Venner himself, who, with eleven others, were hanged, the rest being acquitted for want of evidence. Pepys says there were five hundred of the insurgents, and their cry was, "The king Jesus, and their heads upon the gates!" that is, the heads of their leaders who had been executed and stuck there.

Charles at the time was at Portsmouth with his mother, and Clarendon made the most of the riot, representing it as an attempt to liberate the regicides in the Tower, and restore the commonwealth. Fresh troops were raised and officered with stanch royalists, and a large standing army of that stamp would soon have been raised, had not strong remonstrances been made by the earl of Southampton and others, and equally strong obstacles being existent in the want of money. The house of commons, moreover, spoke out plainly before its dissolution, as to the raising of a new army, saying they were grown too wise to be fooled into another army, for they had discovered that the man who had the command of it could make a king of himself, though he was none before. The known intention to put the duke of York at the head of it, was another strong objection. So the design for the present was abandoned.

In England, Scotland, and Ireland, the king was, of course, beset by the claims of those who had stood by his father, or could set up any plea of service. There were claims for restoration of estates, and claims for rewards. Charles was not the man to trouble himself much about such matters, except to get rid of them. In Ireland the catholics and protestants equally advanced their claims. The protestants declared that they had been the first in Ireland to invite him back, and the catholics that they had been strongly on the late king's side, had fought for him both in Scotland and England, and had suffered severely from the late usurpers. The protestants, however, were in possession of the forfeited estates, and Charles dared not rouse a protestant opposition by doing justice to the catholics, who, though the most numerous, were far the weakest party. Besides, the different interests of the claiming parties were so conflicting, that to satisfy all sides was impossible. Some of the protestants were episcopalians, some presbyterians. The latter had been vehement for the commonwealth, but to ward off the royal vengeance they had, on the fall of Richard Cromwell, been the first to tender their allegiance to Charles, and propitiate him by an offer of a considerable sum of money. Then there were protestant loyalists, whose property under the commonwealth had been confiscated, and there were the catholics, who had suffered from both parties, even when ready to serve the king. There were officers who had served in the royal army before 1649, and had never received the arrears of their pay; there were also the widows and orphans of such. To decide these incompatible demands Charles appointed a commission. But little good could possibly accrue from this, for though there were lands unclaimed sufficient to have pacified all who had just claims, these had been lavishly bestowed on Monk, the duke of York, Ormond, Kingston, and others. Every attempt to take back lands, however unjustly held by protestants, threatened to excite a protestant cry of a dangerous favouring of catholics, and of a design to reinstate the papists, who, they averred, had massacred a hundred thousand protestants during the rebellion. Charles satisfied himself with restoring the bishops and the property of the episcopalian church, and left the commission to settle the matter. But appeals from this impassable tribunal were made to himself, and he at length published his celebrated declaration for the settlement of Ireland, by which the adventurers and soldiers 'who had been planted on the estates of the Irish by the commonwealth were to retain them, except they were the estates of persons who had remained entirely neuter, in which case the adventurers and soldiers were to have an equivalent from the fund for reprisals. But this, in fact, settled nothing, for so many charges were advanced against those who pleaded innocence, that few were allowed to be so. The matter was next brought before the Irish parliament, and there again was division. The commons, who had been appointed through the influence of the soldiers and adventurers, voted that the tang's declaration should pass into a law the lords, on the contrary, protested that it would ruin all the old families, both catholic and protestant; and the contending parties once more appealed to the king, who, wearied with the interminable strife, seized the opportunity of the discovery of a paper formerly signed by Sir Nicholas Plunket, one of the agents of the appellants, offering Ireland to the pope, or any catholic power who would defend them against the parliament—their appeal was dismissed, and the bill, based on the royal declaration, was passed. It was soon found, however, that it was not easy to carry this law into execution; but we must take up these struggles again at their proper date.

P421 Savoy Palace.jpg

Savoy Palace.

Scotland was restored to its condition of an independent kingdom. The survivors of the committee of estates, which had been left in management on Charles's disastrous march into England, previous to the battle of Worcester, were ordered to resume their functions. Middleton was appointed lord commissioner; Glencairn lord chancellor; the earl of Lauderdale secretary of state; Rothes president of the council; and Crawford lord treasurer. A parliament was summoned to meet in Edinburgh in January, 1661, and its first measure was to restore the episcopal hierarchy. To completely destroy every civil right of the presbyterian kirk, Middleton procured the passing of an act to annul all the proceedings of the Scottish parliament since the commencement of the contest with the late king. Though even the lord treasurer Crawford opposed this measure, declaring that as the late king had been present at one of these parliaments, and the present one at another, and that therefore to repeal the acts of these parliaments, would be to rescind the act of indemnity and the approved of the "engagement," Middleton carried his point, and levelled every political right of the kirk at a blow. The ministers of the kirk in astonishment met to consult and to protest; they sent a deputation to the king with a remonstrance; but they arrived at a time likely to inspire them with awe, and did not escape without a painful evidence that they were no longer in the proud position of their fathers. Charles had shed the blood of vengeance plentifully in England, and there were those in Scotland whom he looked on with a menacing eye. The chief of these was the marquis of Argyll. Argyll had been the head and leader of the covenanter. He had counselled with and encouraged the general assembly in its resistance to the late king's measures. He had been his most persevering enemy, and finally, he had encouraged the invasion of England by the Scots. and had been the first to support Cromwell, even sitting in the parliament of his son Richard. Argyll was well aware that he was an object of resentment, and kept himself secure in the Highlands. But his son, lord Lorn, had been a steady and zealous opponent of Cromwell and the commonwealth, and he was one of the first to congratulate Charles on his restoration. To lay hold on Argyll in his mountains was no easy matter, but if he could be beguiled from his fastnesses to court, he might be at once punished. No symptoms of the remembrance of the past, therefore, escaped the king or his ministers, and Argyll, deceived by this, and by the friendly reception of his son, wrote, proposing to pay his Respects to his sovereign in the capital. Charles returned him a friendly answer, and the unwary victim was not long in making his appearance in London. But he was not admitted to an audience at Whitehall, but instantly arrested and committed to the Tower. He was then sent down to Scotland to be tried by the king's ministers there, some of them, as Lauderdale and Middleton, hideous to their own age and to posterity for their sanguinary cruelty. Besides, they were eager to possess themselves of Argyll's splendid patrimony, and they pursued his impeachment with an unshrinking and unblushing ferocity, which astonished even the king.

Argyll pleaded that he had only acted as the whole nation had done, and with the sanction of parliament. That the late king had passed an act of oblivion for all transactions prior to 1611, and the present king had given an act of indemnity up to 1651; that, up to that period, he could not, therefore, be called in question. That he had been out of the country during the time that most of the barbarities alleged had been committed, and that as to the marquis of Montrose, he had been the first to commence a system of burning and extermination, and that they were compelled to treat him in the same manner. And finally, his compliance with Cromwell was not a thing peculiar to himself. They had all been coerced by that successful man; so much so, that his majesty's lord advocate, then his persecutor, had taken the engagement to him. This latter plea was the most unfortunate one that he could have used, for nothing but augmented malice could be the result of it, and there was enough of that already in the minds of his judges. Fletcher, the lord advocate, was thrown into a fury by the remark, called the marquis an impudent villain, and added an additional article to the charges against him, that of having conspired the late king's death.

Lord Lorn procured a letter from Charles, ordering the lord advocate to introduce no charge prior to 1651, and that on the conclusion of the trial, the proceedings should be submitted to the king before judgment was given. This would have probably defeated his intended foes had the king been honest in the matter; but Middleton represented to Charles that to stay judgment till the proceedings had been inspected by the king, would look like distrust of the parliament, and might much discourage that loyal body. Charles allowed matters, therefore, to take their course; but Middleton was again disappointed by Gilmore, the president of the court of sessions, declaring that all charges against the marquis since 1651 were less valid for the purposes of an attainder than those which had excited so much controversy in the cause of the earl of Strafford, and he carried the parliament with him. Argyll and his friends now calculated on his escape, but this was not intended; a number of letters were hunted out, said to have been written to Monk and other commonwealth men whilst they were in power, expressing his attachment to their cause, and his decided disapprobation of the king's proceedings. These were decisive. Though the time was passed when fresh evidence could legally be introduced, these letters were read in parliament, and the effect was that of a thunderbolt falling in the midst of Argyll's friends. They at once disappeared, overwhelmed with confusion, and sentence of death was passed on the marquis. That no time might be allowed for an appeal to the king, who wished to be excused refusing the favour of his life to his son, lord Lorn, his execution was ordered in two days. In vain the unfortunate nobleman pleaded for ten days in order that the king's pleasure might be ascertained; it was refused, and understanding from that the determination of the king, he remarked, "I set the crown on his head at Scone, and this is my reward." He employed the short space left him in earnest prayer, and in the midst of his devotions, believing that he heard a voice saying, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee!" he was wonderfully consoled and strengthened, and ascended the scaffold with a calm intrepidity which astonished and disappointed his enemies. Before laying his head on the block, he declared his ardent attachment to the covenanters in words which flew to every quarter of Scotland, and raised him to the rank of a martyr in the estimation of the people. His head was stuck on the same spike that had received that of Montrose.

Next to Argyll, the malice of the king and cavaliers was fiercest against Johnstone of Warriston and Swinton. Warriston was the uncle of bishop Burnet, a most eloquent and energetic man, who had certainly done his utmost for the maintenance of the covenant, and against the tyranny of Charles I. He was now an old man, but he fled to France, where, however, he was not long safe, for the French government gave him up, and he was sent back and hanged. Swinton, who had turned quaker, escaped through Middleton's jealousy of Lauderdale, who had obtained the gift of Swinton's estate, but more probably by a substantial benefit from the estate to the court.

The wrath of Charles next fell on the deputation of twelve eminent ministers, who had dared to present a remonstrance against the suppression of the privileges of the kirk. They were thrown into prison, but were ultimately dismissed except Guthrie, one of the most daring and unbendable of them. He had formerly excommunicated Middleton, and had been one of the authors of the tract, "The Causes of God's Wrath." Since the restoration he had called a public meeting to remind the king of having taken the covenant, and to warn him against employing malignants. Guthrie was hanged, and along with him a captain Govan, who had, whilst the king was in Scotland, deserted to Cromwell; but why he was selected from among a host of such offenders no one could tell. This closed the catalogue of Scotch political executions for the present.

But in another form Charles and his brutal ministers were preparing deluges of fresh blood in another direction. Middleton assured Charles that the restoration of prelacy was now the earnest desire of the nation, and a proclamation was issued, announcing the king's intention. Only one of the bishops of Laud's making was now alive, Sydserfe, a man of no estimation, who was sent to the distant see of Orkney, though he aspired to the archiepiscopal one of St. Andrews. That dignity was reserved for a

very different man, Sharp, a pretended zealot for the kirk, who, at the same time that he urged Middleton to restore episcopacy, persuaded his clerical brethren to send him up to London to defend the independence of the kirk. He went, and to the astonishment and indignation of the ministers and people, returned archbishop of St. Andrews. He endeavoured, by a letter to Middleton of May 28th, to prove that he had served the kirk faithfully till he saw that it was of no avail, and that he took the post to keep out violent and dangerous men. This, after such a change, could be only regarded as the poor excuse of an unprincipled man. His incensed and abandoned friends heaped on him execrations, and accused him of incontinency, infanticide, and other heinous crimes. By tills measure, and the co-operation of such men as Middleton and Lauderdale, all the old bitterness was revived, and the horrors of a persecution which has scarcely an example in history. By Sharp's advice three other bishops were appointed, Fairfowl to the see of Glasgow, Hamilton to Galloway, and Dr. Robert Leighton to Dunblane. Leighton was the son of that Dr. Leighton whom Laud had so unmercifully treated and mutilated for his tract against prelacy. And now his son embraced prelacy, but was a very different man to Sharp—pious, liberal, learned, and a real ornament to the church, though entering it by such a change. The four bishops went up to London to receive ordination, which was administered to them by Sheldon, bishop of London, at Westminster, with a splendour which greatly offended the puritan simplicity of Leighton. They were invited to take their seats in the house of parliament, where Leighton had very soon an opportunity of opposing the introduction of the oath of allegiance and supremacy, which, however, all men were required to take. Sharp drove on this and other irritating measures; all meetings of presbyteries and synods were prohibited under penalty of treason. and Sharp soon recommended the enforcement of an oath abjuring the solemn league and covenant; and with these terrible weapons in their hands, Middleton, Sharp, and Lauderdale drove the presbyterians from all offices in the church, state, or magistracy, and many were compelled to flee from the country. The most astonishing thing was, that the spirit of the people had been so subdued by the arms and supremacy of Cromwell, that instead of rising as their fathers did, they submitted in passive surprise. It required fresh indignities and atrocities to raise them again to the fighting pitch, and they came In a short time the number of prelates was augmented to fourteen, and the kirk appeared to be extinguished in Scotland.

Whilst these things were taking place in Ireland and Scotland, in England the king and his cavalier courtiers were running a high career, and it was deemed prudent to have a formally though not constitutionally elected parliament, as a better authority for his daring proceedings and plans against the national liberties. The aristocratic and tory influences were in full swing. The old great families, the old gentry, the cavaliers, and the clergy, were all united to strain every old corrupt practice to pack a parliament of their own fashion. Royalists, cavaliers, and the sons of cavaliers predominated in the new parliament, which met on the 8th of May, 1661. Not more than fifty or sixty of the presbyterian party were elected, for the cavaliers everywhere proclaimed them the enemies of the monarchy, and they were scared into silence. This parliament, from the eager pursuit of the loaves and fishes by the majority of its members, acquired the name of the Pension Parliament, and to the disgrace of the country, continued to sit much longer than the so-called Long Parliament, longer, in fact, than any English parliament except one, had ever sate —it continued eighteen years. The parliament and the church far outrun the court in zeal for the destruction of liberty and the restoration of a perfect despotism. The commons commenced its proceedings by requiring every member, on pain of expulsion, to take the sacrament according to the rites of the church of England. They ordered, in conjunction with the lords, the solemn league and covenant to be burnt by the common hangman; they proposed to annul all the statutes of the Long Parliament, and restore the Star-chamber and Court of High Commission, but in this they failed. They passed a bill declaring that neither house, nor both houses together, had any legislative power without the king; that in him resided the sole command of the militia, and all other forces of land and sea; and that an oath should be taken, by all members of corporations, magistrates, and other persons bearing office, to this effect:—"I do declare and believe that it is not lawful upon any pretence whatsever to take arms against the king, and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person, or against those commissioned by him." This was called the corporation oath. They restored the bishops to their seats in the house of peers; they made episcopalian ordination indispensable to church preferment; they revived the old liturgy without any concession to the prejudices of the presbyterians, and thus drove two thousand ministers from the church in one day; they reminded the sufferers that the Long Parliament had done the same, but they did not imitate that parliament in allowing the ejected ministers a small annuity to prevent their starving; they declared it a high misdemeanour to call the king a papist, that is, to speak the truth, for he was notoriously one; increased the rigour of the law of treason, and knocked on the head the last chance of popular liberty by abolishing the right of sending petitions to parliament with more than twenty names attached, except by permission of three justices of peace, or the majority of the grand jury. So furiously rose the stream of reaction, to such a pitiable condition was that great England reduced which had read so imperishable a lesson to, kings and courtiers. England had yet other lessons to give before she had effectually placed kingship on its true basis. When this parliament had done these notable feats, and passed a bill of supply, Charles prorogued them till the 28th of November.

On assembling at that time they were alarmed by Clarendon with rumours of fresh conspiracies in every part of the country. The object was to obtain the death of more of the regicides. The commons fell readily into the snare. To make a spectacle of disaffected men, they ordered three eminent commonwealth men—lord Monson, Sir Henry Mildmay, and Sir Robert Wallop, to be drawn with ropes round their necks from the Tower to Tyburn and back again, to remain perpetual prisoners. But this did not satisfy them, they must have more blood, and though Charles had promised their lives to Sir Harry Vane and general Lambert, they demanded their trial and execution; and Charles, who had no more regard for his word than his father, complied. They were to be tried the next session. Parliament then proceeded to draw up a more stringent conformity bill, and it passed both houses. This bill enacted that every clergyman should publicly, before his congregation, declare his perfect assent to everything contained in the common prayer, and that every preacher who had not received episcopal ordination must do so before the next feast of St. Bartholomew. They added some new collects, in one of them they styled the lecherous monarch "our most religious king;" they made the 30th of January a holiday for ever, in memory of king Charles the martyr—of despotism; and voted the king a subsidy of one million two hundred thousand pounds, and a hearth tax for ever. The king then prorogued them on the 19th of May, 1662, with many professions of economy and reformation of manners, one of which he observed as much as the other.

Of the improvement of his morals he soon gave a striking example. The duke of York had married Anne Hyde, the daughter of the chancellor, though she had been his mistress, and was on the point of being delivered of an illegitimate child, which Charles Berkeley publicly claimed as his own, and brought forward the earls of Arran, Talbot, Jermyn, and others to testify to her loose conduct. Berkeley was afterwards brought to contradict his own statement, but these circumstances, and James's gloomy and bigoted temper, rendered it desirable that Charles should marry. Heirs and heiresses he had in abundance, had they been legitimate. Besides Lucy Walters or Barlow, by whom he had the duke of Monmouth, though the paternity of the child was generally awarded to the brother of Algernon Sidney, for Mrs. Walters or Barlow was very liberal of her favours, he had, on arriving in London, established a connection with the wife of a Mr. Palmer, whose maiden name was Barbara Villiers. The husband's connivance was purchased with the title of earl of Castlemaine, and the countess was afterwards advanced to the rank of the duchess of Cleveland.

As it was requisite for Charles, however, to marry, his ministers looked about for a suitable wife. Nothing could reconcile him to the idea of a German bride, and the catholic princesses of the south were regarded by the nation with suspicion, both from the memory of the last queen, and the suspected tendency of Charles himself to popery. Whilst Charles was in France, in 1659, he made an offer to the niece of cardinal Mazarine, which that shrewd politician, but no prophet, politely declined, for Charles was then a mere fugitive royalty, and the cardinal did not foresee so sudden a change.

On the recall of Charles to the throne, both Mazarine and his master, Louis XIV., saw their mistake, for they had not only treated Charles with as much indifference as if it were a moral certainty that he could never again reach the throne of England, but had even sent him out of the country at the demand of Cromwell. Mazarine now offered his niece, but the scene was changed, and Charles no longer stooped to the niece of a cardinal. Louis, who had no suitable princess of France to offer him, and who wanted to prevent Portugal falling into the power of Spain, strongly recommended to him Douna Catarina of Braganza, the Portuguese monarch's sister. Could he accomplish this match, Louis, who was bound by treaty with Spain to offer no aid to Portugal, might be able to do it under cover of the king of England. The king's ministers, after some apprehension on the score of the lady's religion, were of opinion that the match was desirable if it were only for the dowry offered—five hundred thousand pounds, the settlement of Tangiers, in Africa, and Bombay, in the East Indies, besides a free trade to all the Portuguese colonies. De Mello, the Portuguese ambassador in London, was informed that the proposal met the approbation of the king. To link the interests of France and England closer, the princess Henrietta, Charles's youngest sister, was married to the duke of Orleans, the only brother of the French king.

But like his father, Charles was still not unwilling to run from the engagement if anything more to his interest might offer. No sooner did Vatteville, the Spanish ambassador, become aware of the negotiations, than he alarmed his court, from which a speedy announcement was made to Charles that the king of Spam claimed Portugal as his right, and would not give up that claim. That Catherine was well known to be incapable of bearing children, and that his marriage with her would inevitably lead to a war, and compel Spain to prohibit its lucrative trade to the English. After these warnings, offers were made of either of the two princesses of Parma, with the dowry of a princess of Spain. Charles thought it as well to ascertain the attractions of these princesses, and despatched the earl of Bristol to take a private view of them; but though Bristol was strongly opposed to the Portuguese alliance, the sight of the ladies as they went to church, compelled him to forego all hope from that quarter, for one was so plain, and the other so fat, that even he could not recommend the connection.

Meantime Louis had zealously and adroitly pressed forward the choice of the Portuguese princess. He not only dwelt in a secret correspondence through his envoy, Bastide, on the many advantages of the Portuguese alliance, but offered to make it more so himself; to furnish him with money to buy up parliamentary votes, to lend him fifty thousand pounds whenever he might need it, and to furnish two millions of livres should a war with Spain actually occur. Thus was laid the foundation of Charles's disgraceful dependence on the artful French monarch, for which he sacrificed the honour and interests both of his own country and of all Europe. This species of eloquence prevailed, as it always did with this king. Montague, now lord Sandwich, was despatched with a fleet to bring the Portuguese princess to England, and the Spanish ambassador, enraged at the defeat, conceived a design which might be thought possible only in a barbarous age. He publicly avowed his intention to revive the old dispute of precedence betwixt the French and Spanish crowns.

The Swedish ambassador, Brahé, being just about to arrive, he prepared to take the lead of the French ambassador in the procession on his landing, and to assert it by force. Destrades, the French ambassador, prepared also to maintain the ascendant. He called on all the French in London to attend him on the occasion, and support the honour of their country. He sent for reinforcements firm Boulogne, and appeared on the tower wharf, where Brahé was to land, followed by a hundred of Ids countrymen on foot, and forty on horseback, armed with carbines and pistols. Vatteville, at the same time, appeared in his carriage attended by only about forty Spaniards in livery, but he had taken a precaution of the most vital consequence to success. He had had substitute<l for ordinary traces to his carriage iron chains, so that they could not be cut, and covered them with leather. The moment that the Swedish ambassador entered his carriage, the rival ambassadors dashed forward to secure the place next to him. The crowd, who entered zealously into the contest, hurried loudly at the sight; the two parties came into violent contact, each fought desperately for the victory, and men fell dead on each side; but the Spaniards cut the traces of the French ambassador, and as his follower's found they could not effect the expected retaliation, the Spaniard secured the precedence. But the French, superior in numbers, returned to the charge again and again, as the procession drove through the streets. The Spaniards, with whom the people took part, probably as being the least in number, gallantly defended themselves, and maintained their place. Fifty people were killed or wounded in this extraordinary conflict, and Louis XIV., extremely chagrined at the result, instantly ordered Fuensaldegna, the Spanish ambassador at Paris, from the kingdom, and threatened Philip of Spain with war, and was not appeased till Philip recalled Vatteville from England, made suitable apologies, and promised that his ambassadors should always absent themselves from public ceremonies where they might be likely to come into collision with his own. Then Louis, in the true spirit of French gasconade, pretended to glory in the affair, declaring that nothing more glorious to France had ever happened; that it was a kind of homage that must convince even their enemies that the French crown was the first in Christendom. That the tumult in London was a misfortune, but that it would have been a misfortune if it had not happened. C'etoit au mallueur que ce tumulte de Londres; ce seruit maintenant un mallieur quil ne ful pas arrivé.

On the 13th of May the Portuguese princess arrived at Spithead; Charles was not there to receive her, pretending pressure of parliamentary business, but he sent to request of her that the marriage ceremony after the catholic form, which he had promised, might be waived. Catherine would not consent. On the 20th, Charles having arrived at Portsmouth, they were, therefore, married in private by Catherine's almoner, Stuart D'Aubigny, in the presence of Philip, afterwards cardinal Howard, and five other witnesses, and afterwards publicly by the bishop of London.

On the journey to Hampton Court, and for a few days afterwards, Charles appeared extremely pleased with his wife, who, though she could not compete in person with the dazzling lady Castlemaine, and has been described by some contemporaries as a homely person, as "a little swarthy body, proud, and ill-favoured," is stated by others to have been "a most pretty woman." According to Lely's portrait of her, she is a very pleasing brunette beauty, and by all accounts she was extremely amiable; but the misfortune was, that she had been brought up as in a convent, completely secluded from society, and therefore was little calculated, by the amount of her information, or the graces of her manners, to fascinate a person of Charles worldly and volatile character. Thomas Maynard, who was at the court of Portugal, says in his report to Charles secretary of state, Nicholas, "She is as sweet a dispositioned princess as ever was born, a lady of excellent parts, but lived hugely retired. She hath hardly been ten times out of the palace in her life. For five years she was not out of doors until she heard of his majesty's intention to make her queen of Great Britain."

How was such a woman to support her influence with such a man against the beauty and determined temper of lady Castlemaine, a woman as dissolute and unprincipled as she was handsome. In her fits of passion she often threatened the king to tear their children to pieces, and set his palace on fire; and when she was in these tempers, a contemporary says, "she resembled Medusa less than one of her dragons." Charles was the perfect slave of her charms and her passions. She had wrung from him a promise that his marriage should not cause him to withdraw himself from her, and having born him a son a few days after his marriage, she only awaited her convalescence to take her place as one of the queen's own ladies. Catherine had heard of his amour before coming to England, for it was the talk of all Europe, and her mother had bade her never to allow her name to be mentioned in her presence. But very soon the king presented her a list of the ladies of her household, and the first on the list she saw, to her astonishment, was lady Castlemaine. She at once struck it out, and notwithstanding the king's remonstrances, declared that sooner than submit to such an indignity, she would return to Portugal But she was not long in learning that no regard to her feelings was to be expected from this sensual and unfeeling monster. He brought the obnoxious woman into her own chamber, leading her by the hand, and presenting her before the assembled court. Such a scandalous offence to public decorum, such a brutal insult to a young wife in a strange land, was perhaps never perpetrated before. Catherine, who did not recognise the name uttered by the king, received her graciously, and permitted her to kiss her hand: but a whisper from one of the Portuguese ladies made her aware of the outrage. She burst into tears, the blood gushed from her nostrils in the violent effort to subdue her feelings, and she fell senseless into the arms of her attendants. Instead of feeling any compunction for the pain thus inflicted on his wife, the demoralised reprobate was enraged at her for thus, as he called it, casting a slur on the reputation of the fair lady. He abused the queen for her obstinacy and perversity, and vowed that she should receive her as a lady of her bedchamber, as a due reparation for this public insult. It was in vain, however, that he stormed at his unhappy wife, she remained firm in her resolve, either to be freed from the pollution of the mistress's presence, or to return to Portugal. Clarendon and Ormond ventured to remonstrate with Charles on his cruelty, but Charles was especially indignant that they should "level the mistresses of kings and princes with other lewd women, it being his avowed doctrine that they ought to be looked upon as above other men's wives." However opposed such a doctrine may be to the more refined taste and purer morality of the present age, it was quite in harmony with the habits and feelings which regulated the social system of Europe at that period. Charles was at least no worse than Louis XIV., whose mistresses were admitted to the intimacy of married ladies of approved virtue and chastity. The same, too, may be said of the English court under the first two kings of the House of Brunswick.

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Charles II. introducing Lady Castlemaine at Court.

The part which Clarendon played on this occasion is greatly at variance with that reputation for honour, wisdom, virtue, and true dignity with which his admirers invest him. It shows that however much he might recoil at it, however deeply disgraceful and degrading he might feel it, he was ready to stoop to this disgrace and degradation, rather than sacrifice his interest at court. Accordingly Charles let him know that he expected him not only to cease to object to his unmanly conduct to his wife, but to make himself the instrument of inducing her to submit to the ignominy; and the hoary moralist, the great minister and historian, showed himself humbly pliant, and set to work in earnest to bend the mind of this virtuous and outraged woman to the shame of receiving her husband's harlot as her daily companion and attendant. And this the great Clarendon did perseveringly, and at length successfully. When she talked of returning to Portugal, he bade her understand that she was utterly in the power of her husband; that so far from going to Portugal, she could not even go out of that palace without his permission; and in fact, he so effectually worked upon her terrors, backed by the savage threats of the king, that he ultimately broke her spirit, and taught her to acquiesce in an example of profligacy, which at once scandalised and corrupted the morals of the age. Charles, when Catherine repeated her determination to return to Portugal, told her rudely that she must first see whether her mother would receive her, and that he would send her Portuguese servants to ascertain that point; and he at once discharged all her attendants. Thus left abandoned in a foreign country, the miserable queen told the chancellor that she had to struggle with greater difficulties than any woman of her condition before; but that pattern minister only showed her that it was the more necessary to submit, and, continues Clarendon himself:—"In all this the king preserved his point; the lady came to court, was lodged there, was every day in the queen's presence, and the king in continual conference with her, whilst the queen sate untaken notice of; and if her majesty rose at the indignity and retired into her chamber, it may be one or two attended her; but all the company remained in the room she left, and too often said those things aloud which nobody ought to have whispered. She alone was left out in all jollities, and not suffered to have any part of those pleasant applications and caresses which she saw made abroad to everybody else; a universal mirth in all company but in hers, and in all places but in her chamber, her own servants showing more respect and more diligence to the person of the lady than towards their own mistress, who, they found, could do them less good. All these mortifications were too heavy to be borne, so that at last, when it was least expected or suspected, the queen of a sudden let herself fell first to conversation, and then to familiarity, and even in the same instant to a confidence with the lady; was merry with her in public, talked kindly of her, and in private used nobody more friendly."

P427 Ejection of Nonconformists on St. Bartholomer's Day.jpg

Ejection of Nonconformists on St. Bartholomew's Day

She was subdued to her yoke; and this was the treatment of an English king to a princess who brought him three hundred and fifty thousand pounds dowry, the settlement of Tangier, which might in any reign of sense and policy have been made a commanding station in the Mediterranean, and Bombay, our first settlement in India, the nucleus of our present magnificent Indian empire.

Whilst these revolting scenes had been passing in the palace, the fives of more patriots were brought into question without. Vane and Lambert were put upon their trial before the Court of King's Bench on the 2nd of June. The prominent actors in the drama of the late revolution had both in their different ways done immense damage to royalty; and though the convention parliament had requested Charles to leave them in impunity, notwithstanding that they were not included in the bill of indemnity, and Charles had assented, the cavaliers could not rest satisfied without their blood. Lambert had been one of Cromwell's ablest generals, one of his major-generals, and to the last he had done his best to maintain the cause of the commonwealth by his sword, and had attempted to prevent the march of Monk at the very time that he was planning the return of the king. Vane had been one of the very ablest counsellors and diplomatists that the commonwealth had had. True, he had not sate on the trial of the king, he had had no hand whatever in his death; but he had done two things which could never be forgotten or forgiven by the royalists. He had furnished the minutes of the privy council from his father's cabinet, which determined the fate of Strafford, and the court held him to be the real author of his death; next, though he did not assist in condemning the king, he accepted office under what was now termed the rebel government. Besides and beyond these, he was a man of the highest diplomatic abilities, and of a spotless character and high religious temperament, which cast the most odious hue on the vile spirit and lives of the new reigning power and party. The prisoners were charged with conspiring and compassing the death of the present king, and the recent acts in proof of this were alleged to be consulting with others to bring the king to destruction, and to keep him out of his kingdom and authority, and actually assembling in arms. These were vague and general charges, which might have been applied to all who had been engaged in the late government, and on the same pleas have put all the commonwealth men to death.

Lambert, who had been most courageous in the field, appeared, before a court of justice, a thorough coward. His late transactions had shown that he was a man of no military genius, and now he trembled at the sight of his judges. He assumed a very humble tone, pretended that when he opposed general Monk that he did not know that he was a favourer of the house of Stuart, and he threw himself on the royal clemency. As there was clearly nothing to be feared from such a man, he received judgment of death, but was then sent to a prison in Guernsey for life, where he amused himself with painting and gardening.

But Vane showed, by the ability with which he defended himself, that he was a most dangerous man to so corrupt and contemptible a dynasty as now reigned. The nobility of his sentiments, the dignity of his conduct, and the acuteness of his reasonings, all marked a man who kept alive most dangerous and disparaging reminiscences. Every plea that he advanced, and the power with which he advanced it, which before a fair and independent tribunal would have excited admiration, and insured his acquittal, here only inspired terror and rage, and insured his destruction. He contended that he was no traitor. That by all principles of civil government, and by the statute of Henry VII., he had only contended against a man who was no longer king de facto. That the parliament, before his union with it, had entered on the contest with the late king, and put him, on what they held to be sufficient grounds, out of his former position and authority. That they, by the avowed law of the land, the statute of the 11th of Henry VII., and the practice based upon it, were become the actual reigning and rightful power. Under that power, and by the constitutional, acknowledged government he had acted, taking no part in the shedding of the king's blood; and what he did after he did by the authority of the only ruling government. He therefore denied the right, of any court but the high court of parliament to call him in question, and he demanded counsel to assist him in any case in rebutting the charges against him. But every argument that he advanced only the more militated against himself. The court was met to condemn him and get rid of him, and the more he could prove its incompetence, the worse must their arbitrary injustice appear. The more he could prove the commonwealth a rightful government, the more must the present government hate and dread him. The judges declared that Charles had never ceased to be king either de facto or de jure from the moment of his father's death. That he was not king de facto, but an outcast deprived of all power and name from this country, was notorious enough, but that mattered little; they were resolved to have it so. In order to induce Vane to plead, they promised him counsel, but when he had complied, and pleaded not guilty, they answered his demand for counsel, by telling him they would be his counsel.

Before such a tribunal there could be but one result— right or wrong, the prisoner must be condemned; but Vane made so able and unanswerable a defence, that the counsel employed against him were reduced to complete silence: whereupon chief justice Foster said to his colleagues, "Though we know not what to say to him, we know what to do with him." And when he adverted to the promise of the king that he should not be condemned for what was past, and to his repeated demand for counsel, the solicitor-general exclaimed, "What counsel does he think would dare to speak for him in such a manifest case of treason, unless he could call down the heads of his fellow traitors—Bradshaw or Coke—from the top of Westminster Hall?" He might have added—in that vile state of things, that disgraceful relapse of the English public into moral and political slavery —what jury would dare to acquit him? The king was so exasperated at the accounts carried to him at Hampton Court of the bold and unanswerable defence of Vane, that he wrote to Clarendon, "The relation that hath been made to me of Sir Harry Vane's carriage yesterday in the hall, is the occasion of this letter, which, if I am rightly informed, was so insolent as to justify all that he had done, acknowledging no supreme power in England but parliament, and many things to that purpose. You have had a true account of all, and if he has given new occasion to be hanged, certainly he is too dangerous a man to let live, if we can honestly put him out of the way. Think of this, and give me some account of it to-morrow." What account Clarendon gave, we may imagine, for he is careful to pass over altogether so small a matter as the trial and death of this eminent man, in his own autobiography.

Vane was condemned, and executed on Tower Hill on the 14th of June, on the very spot where Strafford suffered, thus studiously making his death an act of retribution for his decisive evidence against that nobleman. On taking leave of his wife and friends. Sir Harry confidently predicted, as the former victims, Harrison, Scott, and Peters had done, that his blood would rise from the ground against the reigning family in judgment, on earth as well as in heaven.

"As a testimony and seal," he said, "to the justness of that quarrel, I leave now my life upon it as a legacy to all the honest interests in these three nations. Ten thousand deaths rather than defile my conscience, the chastity and purity of which I value beyond all this world." So alarmed were the king and courtiers at the impression which this heroic and virtuous conduct was likely to make on the public, that they took every means to prevent the prisoner being heard on the scaffold. They placed a body of drummers and trumpeters under the scaffold, to drown his voice when he addressed the people. When he complained of the unfairness of his trial, Sir John Robinson, the lieutenant of the Tower, rudely and furiously contradicted him, saying, "It's a lie; I am here to testify that it is a lie. Sir, you must not rail at the judges."

When he began again, the drummers and trumpeters made the loudest din that they could, but he ordered them to be stopped, saying he knew what was meant by it. Again, as he attempted to proceed, they burst forth louder than ever; and Robinson, furious, attempted to snatch the paper out of his hand which contained his notes. Vane, however, held it firmly, and then Robinson, seeing several persons taking notes of what the prisoner said, exclaimed in a rage, "He utters rebellion, and you write it;" and the books were seized, or all that could be discovered. They next, two or three of them, attempted to wrest his papers from him, and thrust their hands into his pockets, on pretence of searching for others. A more indecent scene never was seen, and Vane, seeing that it was useless to attempt being heard, laid his head on the block, and it was severed at a stroke.

But the effect of Vane's words and conduct died not with him. The people, degraded as they had become, could not avoid perceiving that the devil was uppermost for a time; that he was taking revenge for the virtue and the great principles of the commonwealth; that the base and worthless were exterminating the true—those who were the real glory of the nation. Burnet says, "It was generally thought that the government lost more than it gained by the death of Vane;" and even the gossiping Pepys said that he was told that "Sir Harry Vane was gone to heaven, for he died as much a saint and martyr as ever man did, and that the king had lost more by that man's death than he would get again for a long while."

But these plain signs could not stop the thirst for blood. Colonels Okey, Corbet, and Barkstead, three of the regicides, had got away to Holland, as Goffe, Whalley, and Dixwell had to the New England settlements. The latter managed, in various disguises, but in continual fears, to escape; but Okey, Corbet, and Barkstead were hunted out by Downing, who, having been Cromwell's ambassador at the Hague, had made his peace with the new government, and was ready to earn favour by making himself its bloodhound in running down his former friends. He had once been chaplain to Okey's regiment Having secured them, the States were truckling enough to give them up, and they suffered all the horrors of hanging and embowelling at the gallows. General Ludlow, Mr. Lisle, and others of the commonwealth men had retired to Switzerland, which nobly refused to give them up; but the royalists determined to assassinate them if they could not have them to hack and mangle at the gibbet. Murderers were sent after them to dog them, and though Ludlow escaped, as by a miracle, from several attempts, Lisle was shot, on Sunday, of all days, as he was entering the church at Lausaune; and the murderers rode away shouting, "God save the king," and made their escape into France.

If the country was discontented at the destruction of its most eminent and virtuous men, it found that it must prepare to see its foreign prestige sold to France. The king wanted money; Louis XIV. wanted Dunkirk back again, which Cromwell had wrested from France, and which remained a proof of the ascendancy of England under that great ruler. Clarendon, who should have endeavoured to save the nation from that disgrace, did not know where else to look for the necessary supplies for Charles's pleasures, and if he did not suggest, actually counselled the measure. It was contended that Dunkirk was useless to England, and that the expense of maintaining it was onerous. But not only France, but Spain and Holland knew very well its value as a bulwark against the well-known designs of Louis—of adding Belgium, and if possible Holland, to France. Charles knew this very well, too, and was ready to sell it to the highest bidder. Spain and Holland were eager to make the purchase, but Charles was expecting other favours from France and could not get them if he sold Dunkirk to either of those nations. He was in treaty with Louis for ten thousand foot and a body of cavalry, to enable him to tread down the remaining liberties of the people. He therefore gave the preference to France—for not a patriotic feeling, but the most base personal views swayed him in such matters—and struck a bargain with D'Estrades for live million of livres. Charles struggled for the payment in cash, but Louis would only give bills for the amount; and then, knowing Charles's necessity, he privately sent a broker, who discounted the bills at sixteen per cent, and Louis himself boasts, in his published works, that he thus saved five hundred thousand livres out of the bargain, without Charles being aware of it. The indignation of the public at this transaction was loud and undisguised; the merchants of London had in vain offered themselves to advance the king money, so that Dunkirk might not be sacrificed, and now the people openly said that the place was sold only to satisfy the rapacity of the king's mistresses, of whom he was getting more and more—Miss Stewart, Nell Gwynne, and others of less mark. The reprobation of the affair was so universal and violent, and Clarendon was so fiercely accused of being a party to it, that from this hour his favour with the nation was gone for ever.

Whilst the king was thus spilling the best blood, and selling the possessions of the country, the nonconformists were vainly hoping for his fulfilment of his declaration of Breda, as it regarded liberty to tender consciences. The act of uniformity came into force on the 24th of August, St. Bartholomew's Day, on which day the deprivation of two thousand presbyterian ministers would be enforced. They therefore petitioned for three months delay, which Charles promised, on condition that during that time they should use the book of Common Prayer. But no sooner was this promise given, than the royalists, and especially the bishops, contended that the king was under no obligation to keep the declaration of Breda, inasmuch as it had only been made to the convention parliament, which had never called for its fulfilment. Clarendon did not venture to counsel Charles to break his word, but he advised the summoning of the bishops to Hampton Court, where the question was discussed in the presence of Ormond, Monk, and the chief law-officers and ministers of state. The bishops expressed much disgust at those fellows, the nonconformists, still insisting on interrupting the king in the exercise of his undoubted prerogative; they were supported by the crown lawyers, and the act was enforced in all its rigour, spite of the royal promise, which had over and over lost its slightest value. The storm of persecution burst forth on the nonconformists with fury. Their meetings were forcibly broken up by soldiery, and their preachers and many of themselves thrust into prison on charges of heresy and violation of the laws. Numbers again prepared for flight to New England, and to prevent this sweeping emigration of useful artisans, the earl of Bristol, the former impetuous and eccentric lord Digby of the civil wars, and Ashley Cooper planned a scheme which should at once relieve both dissenters and catholics. This was to induce the king, on the plea of fulfilling his declaration of Breda, to issue a declaration of indulgence of a broad and comprehensive character. This was supported in the council by Robartes, lord privy seal, and Bennet, the new secretary of state. Accordingly, Charles, on the 6th of December, issued his declaration, called a declaration for refuting four scandals cast on the government—namely, that the act of indemnity had been merely intended to be temporary, that there was an intention to keep a large standing army, that the king was a persecutor; and that he was a favourer of popery. In answer to the third scandal, he declared he would submit to parliament a bill for ample indulgence to tender consciences; and though he would not refuse to make the catholics, like the rest of his subjects, a partaker in this privilege, yet to show the fallacy of the fourth scandal, if they abused his goodness he would pursue them with all the rigour of the laws already existing against them.

This announcement was received with an outburst of indignation by all parties except the independents and the other dissenters who partook of their ideas of general toleration. But the presbyterians adhered to their ancient bigotry so firmly, that rather than catholics should enjoy toleration, they were ready to forego it themselves. The church, and a vast number of people of no religion at all, joined in the cry out of their hereditary alarm at popery. The moment that the session of 1663 opened, on the 18th of February, both houses fell on the declaration, and the commons, though the bill was not before them, sent an address to the king, thanking him for the other parts of the declaration, but represented the third clause as pregnant with schism, endless liberties and importunities of sects, and certain disturbance of the national tranquillity. In the lords the lord treasurer led the opposition, and the bishops supported him with all their energies, and, to the astonishment of Charles himself, Clarendon, who had been laid up with the gout, on the second day of the debate went to the house, and attacked it with a vehemence of language which gave great offence to the king. Probably Clarendon calculated on more serious damage from the popular feeling, of which his Dunkirk policy had recently given him a sharp taste, than on any strong resentment of Charles, but he was mistaken; the bill was defeated, but the king expressed his wrath to Southampton, the treasurer, and Clarendon, in such terms as struck terror into them, and from that time it was evident that neither of them possessed his confidence any longer. Nor did he spare the bishops. He reproached them with bigotry and ingratitude. He told them that it was owing to his declaration of Breda that they owed their restoration, and that now they were driving him to break that promise. That the intolerance of the bishops in his father's time had caused the destruction of the hierarchy, and done much to ruin the monarchy itself; and no sooner were they reinstated, than they were pursuing the same blind and fatal course. From that day, too, his manner to them changed, and his courtiers, quick to perceive the change, imitated it, and glad to excuse their profligacy, indulged in ridicule of their persons, and mocking of their sermons.

But though Charles had boldly spoken much severe truth in the moment of his resentment, all parties calculated too well on the evanescence of anything in him like a wise or virtuous perseverance, and they pursued their object with an obstinacy which compelled the ease-loving monarch to give way. The commons passed a bill to check the growth of popery, and another that of nonconformity, but though strongly supported in the lords, they were defeated by the presbyterian and catholic members. They then changed their tack, and presented an address to the king, praying him to put in force all the penal laws against the catholics and sectaries of every description. Having expressed their wishes, the commons granted the king four subsidies, and he was about to prorogue parliament, when a strange incident delayed this event for some time. The king, during the discussion on the supplies, made a statement which seemed to commit the earl of Bristol with parliament. The earl and the king becoming warm in mutual explanation before lord Arlington, Charles used strong language, and Bristol, losing his temper, reproached the king with his amours, his indolence, and the sacrifice of his best friends to the malice of Clarendon, and vowed that unless justice was done him within twenty-four hours, he would do a thing that would astonish both the king and the chancellor. This thing was to impeach Clarendon of high treason on the ground that he had, both publicly and privately, endeavoured to fix the character of a papist on the king, and had represented that he alone protected the protestant establishment. Bristol's hasty temper had betrayed him into a charge which he could not substantiate. He was foiled with disgrace, and he only escaped being arrested by flight.

When the next session of parliament opened, on the 16th of March, 1664, the commons returned with unabated animus, and circumstances in the interim had occurred, which, as they favoured both the orthodox scheme and a scheme of the king's, they managed to carry their point by conceding his. In October, a trifling insurrection broke out at Farnley Wood, in Yorkshire. The people, who were of an obscure class, appeared to be fifth-monarchy men and republicans, who complained of the persecutions for religion, and of the violation of the triennial act, and contended that as the present parliament had sate more than three years, it was illegal, and the people had nothing to do but to erect another of their own accord. This was a mistake; the act did not limit the duration of parliament, but the interval betwixt one parliament and another. The triennial act, passed in the 16th of Charles I., when his parliament wrung a number of those guarantees from him, authorised the sheriffs to issue writs for an election after any parliament had ceased to sit three years, if the government did not summon one, and in default of the sheriffs issuing such writs, the people might assemble and proceed to election without.

The government wanted to be rid of this act, and therefore the duke of Buckingham set Gere, sheriff of Yorkshire, and others, to send incendiarians amongst the people to excite them to proceedings of this sort. They were then arrested to the amount of about fifty persons in Yorkshire and Westmoreland, on the plea that they were assembled without lawful cause, the parliament so far from having ceased to sit three years, being still sitting. The ignorant people had been probably purposely misinformed, and some of them were hanged for it. The end of Charles was gained. He told the parliament that the act thus encouraged seditious meetings, and that though he never wished to be without a parliament for three years, he was resolved never to allow of a parliament summoned by such means as prescribed by that act. The parliament readily repealed the act, and passed another, still requiring a parliament at furthest after three years' interval, but sweeping away what Charles called the "wonderful clauses" of the bill.

In return for this favour, the commons now solicited his assent to the conventicle act, which it was hoped would extinguish dissent altogether. This was a continuation of those tyrannic acts which were passed in this infamous reign, some of which, as the corporation and test acts, even survived the revolution of 1688, and have cost us so much trouble in our own time to get rid of. The test act, the act of uniformity, by which bishop Sheldon, the Laud of his time, ejected two thousand ministers, now the conventicle, and soon after this the five mile act, completed the code of despotism, and opened up a scene of violence and persecution such as no country in the worst times ever saw surpassed.

Here was this king, who, in the last session of parliament, published his declaration for the indulgence of tender consciences, now wheeling round like a weathercock, and consenting to this conventicle act. And what was this act? It forbade more than five persons to meet together for worship, except that worship was according to the common prayer. All magistrates were empowered to levy ten pounds on the ministers, five pounds on every hearer, and twenty pounds on the house where this conventicle, as it was called, was held. This for the first offence, or three months' imprisonment, and ten pounds a hearer or six months' imprisonment for a second offence; one hundred pounds a hearer or seven years' transportation for the third; and death without benefit of clergy in case of return or escape. This diabolical act Clarendon, the just and wise Clarendon, applauded, and says that if rigorously executed, it would have produced entire conformity. What were Clarendon's idea of rigour?

Sheldon, the bishop of London, let loose all the myrmidons of the law on the devoted country. The housed of nonconformists were invaded by informers, constable, and the vilest and lowest rabble of their assailants. They broke open the houses of all nonconformists, in search of offenders, but still more in search of plunder; they drove them from their meetings with soldiery, and thrust them into prisons—and such prisons! No language can describe the horrors and vileness of the pestiferous prisons of those days.

The two thousand nonconformist ministers were starving.

"Their wives and children," says Baxter, "had neither house nor home." Such as dared to preach in fields and private houses were dragged to those horrible prisons: those who ventured to offer them food or shelter, if discovered, were treated the same. To prevent the nonconformist ministers even remaining amongst their old friends, Sheldon, the very next session, procured the five mile act, which restrained all ministers from coming within five mile of any place where they had exercised their ministry, and from teaching school, under a penalty of forty pounds for each offence.

"The conventicle act," says Lingard, "affected equally catholics and all denominations of dissenters; but it was felt the most severely by the quakers, because, while others, when they met for the purpose of worship, sought to elude detection, these religionists, under the guidance, as they thought, of the Spirit of God, deemed it their duty to assemble openly, and to set at defiance the law of man."

This is true, and the relation of the tremendous persecution of the quakers, which never ceased till the revolution, a period of twenty-four years, has scarcely a parallel in history, and is the more disgraceful, because these people had a principle of non-resistance, except such as consisted in passive endurance, and which exhibited the conduct of their persecutors as cowardly in the extreme. No less than two thousand five hundred of these peaceable people were, according to "Bess's Sufferings of the Society of Friends," in prison at once; "and during their absence the informers and constables came and plundered their wives and children. They threw away the food of infants, and carried away the very vessels. They frightened and abused the poor women and their children; put the key of the door in their pockets, so that they and their tribe had free ingress and egress night and day; and there they eat, drank, and caroused jovially, declaring that they would eat of the best, drink of the sweetest, and those rogues of quakers should pay for all." When they complained to archbishop Bancroft of such vile fellows, he only replied that "it required crooked timbers to build a ship."

But the tale of these monstrosities fill two thick folio volumes, containing upwards of one thousand four hundred closely printed pages. They detail every imaginable species of outrage and insult, petty vexations, and agonising sufferings; confinement in the pestilential dungeons of the time, such as the hulk in Newgate, which was the death of numbers; every species of legal and illegal plunder, loss of estate, friends, liberty, and life itself. In London they filled the prisons in suffocating crowds, where in 1662 twenty died, and seven more soon after their liberation; in the present year, 1664, twenty-five more, and in the following year fifty-two others. In the whole kingdom three hundred and sixty-nine perished. Everywhere their meetings were broken up by parish priests, with troopers and mobs at their heels; scarcely an adult was left at large. In Bristol at one time not a single grown-up quaker was out of prison; but the very children collected in meetings in spite of the beatings and insults of their persecutors, who struck them in the face, as they were accustomed to do women, whom it was a favourite play to drag by the hair of the head, pinch their arms till black and blue, and prick them with bodkins and packing-needles. When this would not do, they sold them to the colonies and sugar-plantations for slaves, where their doctrines soon spread, and persecution soon became as hot as at home, especially in Barbadoes and New England, where monstrous fines, cutting off ears, and hanging became the order of the day.

P432 Clock Tower at Dunkirk. A Procession of Giants.jpg

Clock Tower at Dunkirk. (A Procession of Giants.)

Before the persecution ceased, all the meeting-houses of the quakers were pulled down, and the materials sold. Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul's, by command of the king, pulled down their meeting-house at Horselydown. The Friends, however continued to meet on the sites of the razed meeting-houses, where they were attacked by the soldiery, who knocked them down with the butt-end of their guns, and maltreated them so dreadfully, that the blood lay in the streets, and several died in consequence. Old age met with no re
P433 The Great Plague, 1665. The Enthusiast Denouncing London.jpg

THE GREAT PLAGUE, 1665: THE ENTHUSIAST DENOUNCING LONDON.

spect, and the women, especially, were treated with brutal indecency.

But though the Quakers were pre-eminent in suffering in England—in Scotland, the scenes that were enacting under Lauderdale, with Ids hell-hound commander. Sir James Turner, were most frightful. Of Lauderdale, the tyrant deputy of Scotland at this period, Macaulay draws this true portrait:—"Lauderdale, loud and course both in mirth and anger, was perhaps, under the outward show of boisterous frankness, the most dishonest man in the whole cabal. He had made himself conspicuous amongst the Scotch insurgents of 1638 by his zeal for the covenant. He was accused of being deeply concerned in the sale of Charles I. to the English parliament, and was, therefore, in the estimation of good cavaliers, a traitor, if possible, of a worse description than those who had sate in the High Court of Justice. He often talked with noisy jocularity of the days when he was a canter and a rebel. He was now the chief instrument employed by the court in the work of forcing episcopacy on his reluctant countrymen; nor did he in that cause shrink from the unsparing use of the sword, the halter, and the boot. Yet those who knew him knew that thirty years had made no change in his real sentiments, that he still hated the memory of Charles I., and that he still preferred the presbyterian form of church government to any other." If we add to this picture Carlyle's additional touch of "his big red head," we have a sufficient idea of this monster of a man, as he was now at work in Scotland with his renegade archbishop Sharpe, with their racks, thumbscrews, and the boot, so vividly described by Sir Walter Scott in "Old Mortality" and the "Tales of a Grandfather;" and Turner pursuing the flying covenanters to the mountains and morasses with fire and sword.

In Scotland it was not against sects, but against the whole presbyterian church that the fury of the persecutors was directed. The presbyterians had effectually crashed out all dissenters, and now they themselves felt the iron hand of intolerance. No sooner did the conventicle act pass in England, than the royalist parliament passed one there in almost the same terms, and another act offering Charles twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse to march into England, to assist in putting down his subjects there, if necessary. Sharpe was wonderfully elated by the conventicle act, and, establishing what proved to be a high commission court, he managed to place his creature, lord Rothes, at the head of the law department as chancellor, who brow-beated magistrates and lawyers, and twisted the laws as Sharpe thought fit. The prisons were soon crammed as full as those in England, and proceedings of the law courts more resembled those of an inquisition than anything else, till the peasantry rose and endeavoured to defend themselves. The names of Lauderdale and archbishop Sharpe are made immortal for the infliction of infernal tortures; their racks and thumbscrews, their iron boots and gibbets are riveted fast and firm to their names. We shall have to see Sharpe called to his account anon, and we will here close the general view of this dreadful period by this summary. The writer of the preface to Mr. De Laune's "Plea for the Nonconformists," says, that De Laune was one of near eight thousand who perished in prison in the reign of Charles II., and that merely for dissenting from the church in some points, for which they were able to bring good reason. That they suffered in their estates to the amount of two million within five years. Another writer adds that Mr. Jeremy White had carefully collected a list of the dissenting sufferers, and of their sufferings, and had the names of sixty thousand persons who had suffered on a religious account between the restoration of Charles II. and the revolution of king William. That James, during his reign, heard of this manuscript, and offered a thousand guineas for it, but White refused to part with it, and afterwards committed it to the flames.

And how was "our most religious king" employed whilst his subjects were thus in all quarters harassed, imprisoned, plundered, tortured, shot, or beheaded? He was leading the most lewd and infamous life recorded in history. His court swarmed with mistresses, pimps, procurers, and parasites of every description. We have seen how he forced the lady Castlemaine—with whom he was living in double adultery, towards his own wife and towards her own husband. Palmer—on his revolting queen. He kept a fellow of the name of Chifinch as procurer and master of his harem, who had his agents out always seeking fresh women for him, whom he introduced into the palace, so that when an act was passed for putting down brothels, the mob cried, "Let us go first and pull down the great one at Whitehall." Some of the offspring of his by Castemaine, Lucy Walters, Mary Davies, Nell Gwynne, and others, remain to this day, and the country has been especially saddled with three of them, as dukes of Grafton, St. Albans, and Richmond. To support the countless extravagance of all the ladies of his harem, his pimps, procurers, and their profligate hangers on, he was, as we have seen, and shall see further, compelled to sell himself and his country to the French king for money. What a fall from the glorious splendour, the purity and decorum of the commonwealth! What a ghastly and grinning ogre does this very "merry monarch" appear under this statement of most melancholy facts!

And now he was about to plunge into war to serve the purposes of his paymaster, the ambitious French king. Whatever could weaken or embarrass Holland suited exactly the plans of Louis XIV., and to have England contending with Holland whilst he was contemplating an attack on Spain, was extremely convenient. The immediate cause, however, came from the complaints of the merchants, or rather of the duke of York. The duke was governor of an African company, which imported gold dust from the coast of Guinea, and was deeply engaged in the slave trade, supplying the West India planters with negroes. The Dutch complained of the encroachments of the English both there and in the East Indies, and the English replied by similar complaints. The duke advocated hostilities against the Dutch, but found Charles unwilling to be diverted from his pleasures by the anxieties of war. He was worked on, however, by appeals to his resentment against the Louvestein faction in Holland, which had treated him with great indignity whilst he was an exile, and though the differences might have been readily settled by a little honest negotiation, the duke was desirous of a plea for further aggression on the Dutch, and his plans were fostered by Downing, the ambassador at the Hague, a most unprincipled man, who under Cromwell had held the same post, and traded most profitably on the fears of the Dutch.

In the spring of 1664, James's admiral, Sir Robert Holmes, arrived on the coast of Africa with a few small ships of war, to recover the castle of Cape Corse, which the Dutch had claimed and seized. He exceeded his commission as an officer of the African Company, and not only reduced the castle of Cape Corse, but the forts of Goree, and then sailed away to America, and cast anchor at the settlement of New Amsterdam, lately taken from the Dutch by Sir Richard Nicholas, and named it after his patron, New York. The Dutch ambassador now presented the strongest remonstrances, and the king, excusing himself on the plea that Holmes had gone out on a private commission, assured the ambassador that he would have him recalled and put upon his trial. Holmes, indeed, was recalled and sent to the Tower, but was soon after liberated. The Dutch were not disposed to sit down with this indignity, and De Ruyter attacked the English settlements on the coast of Guinea, committed great depredations, and then, sailing to the West Indies, captured above twenty sail of English merchantmen. There was now a vehement cry for war, and Charles appealed to parliament, which granted the unprecedented supply of two millions and a half. The city of London also presented several large sums of money, for which they received the thanks of parliament. A very remarkable circumstance attended the act granting this parliamentary supply. The ancient mode of subsidies was abandoned, and a mode of assessment, copied from the plan of the commonwealth, was adopted; the first time that the royalists practically paid homage to the republican superiority of finance. The tax was to be raised by quarterly assessments. Moreover, the clergy, instead of voting their money separately in convocation, were called upon to pay their taxes with the laity, and thus ended the separate jurisdiction of convocation: it became a mere form.

P435 The Pest House and Plague Pit in Finsbury Fields.jpg

Pest House and Plague Pit in Finsburv Fields.

The duke of York, who, with all his faults, was by no means destitute of courage, took the command of the fleet as lord-admiral against the Dutch, and showed much ability in his command. He divided the fleet into three squadrons, one of which he commanded himself, the second he gave to prince Rupert, who here again appeared in English affairs, and the third to the earl of Sandwich, formerly admiral Montague. The whole fleet consisted of ninety-eight sail of the line and four fire-ships. On the 4th of June he came to an engagement near Lowestoffe, with the Dutch fleet under admiral Opdam, a gallant and experienced seaman, followed by a hundred and thirteen men of war, manned by the most spirited and distinguished youth of Holland. The battle was terrible, but James, discharging all his guns into Opdam's vessel, caused it to blow up, and thus destroyed the admiral with five hundred men. The Dutch having lost their chief commander, drew off towards the Texel, but Van Tromp collected the scattered vessels, and there was a prospect of at second fight; but the duke went to bed, and lord Brounker, a gentleman of the bedchamber, went on deck and ordered Penn to slacken sail. The consequence was that the Dutch were allowed to retire in safety, and much of the honour won by the duke was lost again by this circumstance. It was said that the duke knew nothing of it, and that Brounker had given the order of his own accord; but the prevailing opinion was that the duke thought he had got honour enough, and the earl of Montague, who was serving as a volunteer, said the duke had been much impressed by seeing, in the heat of the action, the earl of Falmouth, lord Muskerry, and Boyle, son of the earl of Burlington, killed by his side. Penn, moreover, was said to have told the duke that if they engaged again the fight would be more bloody than ever, for the Dutch would grow desperate with revenge. The fleet, therefore, made homeward, and, says Pepys, the duke and his officers returned from sea "all fat and ruddy with being in the sun." It was given out as a great victory, and the duke received one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for his services; but the public was far from satisfied, and lord Sandwich far less so. He complained to Pepys that he had born the brunt of the battle, and that all the honour was given to the duke in the printed account. That there was much in these statements, was sanctioned by the fact that the duke was removed from the fleet, and the command restored to the brave but unprincipled Sandwich. In the battle the Dutch are said to have lost seven thousand men, and eighteen sail burnt, sunk, or taken. The English are reported to have lost only one ship, and six hundred men in killed and wounded. Amongst the slain were the earls of Marlborough and Portland, and admirals Lawson and Sampson.

Sandwich was scarcely in independent command, when he heard of a most magnificent chance. Two Dutch merchant fleets, one from the East Indies and one from the Levant, to avoid the English fleet at the Texel, united and sailed round the north of Ireland and Scotland, and took shelter in the neutral harbour of Bergen, in Norway. They were jointly valued at twenty-five millions of livres. Sandwich sailed thither after them, and the king of Denmark, the sovereign of Norway, though at peace with the Dutch, was tempted, by the hope of sharing the booty, to let Sandwich attack them in port. Sandwich, however, was not satisfied to give the king half, as demanded, and in spite of Alefeldt, the governor, who begged him to wait till the terms were finally settled with the monarch, he ordered captain Tyddiman to dash in and cut the ships out and all the Dutch vessels. But Tyddiman found himself betwixt two fires; the Dutch defended themselves resolutely, and the Danes, resenting this lawless proceeding, fired on them from the fort and batteries. Five of Sandwich's commanders were killed, one ship was sunk, much damage was done to the fleet, and it was glad to escape out of the harbour. Sandwich, however, was lucky enough soon after to secure eight men-of-war and about thirty other vessels, including two of the richest Indiamen, which were dispersed by a storm whilst under the convoy of De Witt. The unscrupulous Sandwich made free to appropriate two thousand pounds worth of the booty, and allowed his officers to do the same, which occasioned his dismissal from the fleet; but to soften his disgrace, he was sent as ambassador to Spain. Parliament, to carry on the war, granted the king a fresh supply of one million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and at the same time voted the one hundred and twenty thousand pounds to the duke.

Whilst these events had been transpiring, the plague had been raging in the city of London, and had thence spread itself to various parts of the country. It raged with a fury almost unexampled in any age or nation. It had shown itself during the previous winter in a few individual cases, and as spring advanced, it terribly extended its devastations. In May it burst forth with frightful violence in St. Giles, and, spreading over the adjoining parishes, soon threatened both Whitehall and the city. The nobility fled to the country, the court retreated to Salisbury, and left Monk to represent the government in his own person, and he boldly maintained his ground through the whole deadly time. As the hot weather advanced the mortality became terrible, and the people fled in crowds into the country, till the lord mayor refused to grant fresh bills of health, and the people of the neighbouring towns and villages refused to receive any one from London into them. Those who escaped out of the metropolis had to camp in the fields, whichever way they turned the inhabitants being in arms to drive them away. In June the city authorities put in force an act of James I. They divided the city into districts, and allotted to each a staff of examiners, searchers, nurses, and watchmen. As soon as the plague was ascertained to be in a house, they made a red cross upon the door a foot in length, and wrote over, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" No one was allowed to issue out of the houses bearing that fatal sign for a month, if they could keep them in. Persons escaping out of these infected houses, and mingling with others, were liable to suffer death as felons. But to remain in these houses was to perish of plague or famine, and numbers broke wildly from them at all hazards, thus carrying the infection on all sides. Many in their frensy jumped naked from the windows, rushed wildly through the streets, and plunged into the river.

It was calculated that forty thousand workpeople and servants were left destitute by the flight of their employers, and large subscriptions were made to prevent their starving, for they were not allowed to leave the city. The king gave one thousand pounds a week, the city, six hundred pounds, the queen dowager, the archbishop of Canterbury, and many noblemen contributed liberally. But the aspect of the place was terrible. The dead carts were going to and fro continually to collect the bodies put out into the streets, announced by the tinkling of a bell, and at night by the glare of links. The corpses were cast into pits, and covered up as fast as possible. The most populous and lately busy streets were grass-grown; the people who walked through them kept along the middle, except they were meeting others; and then they got as far from each other as possible. Amid all this horror, the sight of ghastly death, and the ravings of delirium, whilst some brave souls devoted themselves to the assistance of the suffering and dying, crowds of others rushed to taverns, theatres, and places of debauch, and a strange maniacal mirth startled the silence of the night, and added horror to the work of death. The weekly numbers who perished rose from one thousand to eight thousand. The wildest rumours of apparitions and strange omens were afloat. The ghosts of the dead were said to be seen walking round the pits where their bodies lay; a flaming sword was said to stretch across the heavens from Westminster to above the Tower, and men, raised by the awful excitement of the scene into an abnormal state, went about, as was done at the destruction of Jerusalem, announcing the judgments of God. One man cried as he passed, "Yet forty days and London shall be destroyed; "another stalked nakedly along, bearing on his head a chafing-dish of burning coal, and declaring that the Almighty would purge them with fire. Another came suddenly from side streets and alleys in the darkness of the night, or in open day, uttering in a deep and fearful tone, the unvarying exclamation, "Oh, the great and dreadful God!" The confounded people declared that it was a judgment of God on the nation for its sins, and especially the sins of the king and court, and the dreadful persecution of the religious by the government and clergy. The presbyterian ejected preached frequently mounted into the pulpits now deserted by their usual occupants, and preached with a solemn eloquence to audiences who listened to them from amid the shadows of death, and thus gave great cause of offence to the incumbents, who had fled their own charge, after the danger was over, and was made one plea for pacing the five mile act in October of this year. Many other metropolitan clergy stood firm by their flocks, and displayed the noblest characters during the pestilence. This terrible plague swept off upwards of one hundred thousand people during the year; and though it ceased with the winter, it raged the following summer in Colchester, Norwich, Cambridge, Salisbury, and even in the Peak of Derbyshire.

Whilst the plague had been raging, numbers of the republicans, Algernon Sydney amongst the rest, had gone over to Holland and taken service in its army, urging the States to invade England and restore the commonwealth, and a conspiracy was detected in London itself for seizing the Tower and burning the city. Rathbone, Tucker, and six others were seized and hanged, but colonel Danvers, their leader, escaped. The parliament attainted a number of the conspirators by name, and also every British subject who should remain in the Dutch service after a fixed day. But neither plague nor inssurection had any effect in checking the wild licence and riot of the court. The same scenes of drinking, gambling, and debauchery went on faster than ever after the court removed from Salisbury to Oxford. The king was in pursuit of a new flame, a Miss Stewart, one of the queen's maids of honour, and the duke of York was as violently in love with her. Charles could not eat his breakfast till he visited both her and Castlemaine; and even Clarendon complains that "it was a time when all license in discourse and in actions was spread over the kingdom, to the heart-breaking of many good men, who had terrible apprehensions of the consequences of it." The example of king and court was demoralising the whole nation, and its literatme was fast assuming the same obscene and debauched tone, so that to read the comedies of those times is very much akin to plunging into a town sewer.

The war, meantime, went on, and now assumed a more formidable aspect, for Louis XIV. made a sudden veer round in his politics, and joined the Dutch. He was actually under conditions of peace and assistance with them, and they called upon him to fulfil his engagements; but they publicly would have called in vain, had not Charles of late become too independent of his French paymaster, by having received liberal supplies from parliament. Louis liked extremely to see Holland and England exhausting one another whilst he was aiming at the acquisition of the Netherlands; but it was not his policy to leave Charles free from his control. Charles, meanwhile, had been neglecting the very sailors who were to fight his battles against the united power of France and Holland. The sailors who had fought so gallantly last summer had lain during the winter in the streets, having received no pay. Pepys says, whilst the plague was raging in London, that they were besieging the nay office with clamorous demands. "Did business, though not much, at the navy office, because of the horrible crowd and lamentable moan of the poor seamen that he starving in the streets for lack of money, which do trouble and perplex me to the heart; and more at noon when we were to go through them, for then above a whole hundred of them followed us, some cursing, some swearing, and some praying to us."

Whilst the royal duke had received one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for fighting one battle and leaving it unfinished, and the poor men were thus turned adrift to starvation and danger of death from the plague, the fleet had lost nearly all its experienced officers, who had been turned off because of their having helped the immortal Blake to shed glory on the commonwealth, and their places were supplied by young, insolent, ignorant sprigs of the aristocracy, who neither knew their business, nor were disposed to do it if they did. Pepys, who, as secretary to the admiralty, saw all this, says:—"The gentlemen captains will undo us, for they are not to be kept in order; their friends about the king and duke, and their own houses, are so free, that it is not for any person but the duke himself to have any command over them." He adds that admiral Penn spoke very freely to him on the subject, and lamented the loss which the fleet had experienced in the cashiered officers. "That our very flag officers do stand in need of exercising amongst themselves, and discovering the business of commanding a fleet; he told me that even one of our flag-men did not know which tack lost the wind or kept it in an engagement."

Such was the state of our navy when it put to sea to face the enemy. The command was intrusted to Monk and prince Rupert. And here were fresh proofs of the miserable management of this miserable monarch. Monk, whose conscience probably was not very easy with the part he had played, had taken desperately to drinking, and to this drunken commander the fortunes of England were intrusted in conjunction with Rupert, who, with the corn-age of a lion, was never in the right place at the right time. On the 1st of June, Monk discovered the Dutch fleet under De Ruyter and De Witt lying at anchor off the North Foreland. They had eighty-four sad, and Monk would have had an equal number, but Rupert had received an order to go in quest of the French fleet with thirty sail.!Monk, therefore, having little more than fifty sail, was strongly advised by Sir John Hannan and Sir Thomas Tyddiman not to engage with such unequal numbers, especially as the wind and sea were such as would prevent the use of their lower tier of guns. But Monk, who was probably drunk, would not listen, and was encouraged by the younger and more inexperienced officers. He bore down rapidly on the Dutch fleet, having the weather-gauge, and the Dutchmen were taken so muck
P438 Scene presented in Highgate Fields during the Great Fire of London. 1666.jpg

SCENE PRESENTED IN HIGHGATE FIELDS DURING THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON, 1666.

P439 The Burning of Old St. Paul's, 1666.jpg

THE BURNING OF OLD ST. PAUL'S 1666.

by surprise, that they had not time to weigh anchor, but cut their cables and made for their own coast. But there they faced about, and Monk, in his turn, was obliged to tack so abruptly, that his topmast went by the board, and whilst he was bringing his vessel into order, Sir William Berkeley, who had not noticed the accident, was amid the thick of the enemy, and, being unsupported, was soon killed on his quarter-deck, and his ship and a frigate attending him were taken. Sir Thomas Tyddiman refused to engage, and Sir John Harman, inclosed by the Dutch, had his masts shot away, and was severely wounded The masts and rigging of the English vessels were cut to pieces by chain shot, a new invention of admiral De Witt's, and Monk, with his disabled ships, had to sustain a desperate and destructive fight till it was dark. He then gave orders to make for the first English port, but in their haste and the darkness they ran upon the Galloper Sand, where the Prince Royal, the finest vessel in the fleet, grounded, and was taken by the

Dutch. The next day Monk continued a retreating fight, and would probably have lost the whole fleet, but just then Rupert, with the white squadron, appeared in sight. The next morning the battle was renewed with more equal forces till they were separated by a fog, and when that cleared away the Dutch were seen in retreat. Both sides claimed the victory, but the English had certainly suffered most, and lost the most ships. The only wonder was that they had not lost the whole. Nothing, however, could exceed the lion-like courage of the seamen. "They may be killed," exclaimed De Witt, "but they cannot be conquered." They very soon reminded him of his words, for before the end of June they were at sea again fought and defeated him and De Ruyter, pursued them to their own coast, entered the channel between Ulie and Scheliing, and destroyed two men-of-war, one hundred and fifty merchantmen, and reduced the town of Brandaris to ashes. De Witt, enraged at this devastation, vowed to Almighty God that he would never sheath the sword till he had taken ample revenge.

In August a French fleet, under the duke of Beaufort, arrived from the Mediterranean to join the Dutch fleet under De Ruyter, which was already in the channel watching for position. Rupert, however, was on the look-out, and De Ruyter took refuge in the roadstead of Boulogne, and whilst Rupert was preparing to prevent the advance of Beaufort up the chancel, a storm obliged him to retreat to St. Helens, by which Beaufort was enabled to reach Dieppe; and the Dutch, severely damaged by the tempest, returned home. But this storm had produced a terrible catastrophe on land. A fire broke out in the night betwixt the 2nd and 3rd of September, in Pudding Lane, near Fish Street, where the monument to commemorate that event now, stands. It occurred in a bakehouse which was built of timber and had a pitched roof, and the buildings in general being of timber, it soon spread. The wind was raging furiously from the east, and the neighbourhood being filled with warehouses full of pitch, tar, rosin, and other combustible materials, the conflagration rushed along with a wonderful force and vehemence. The summer had been one of the hottest and dryest ever known, and the timber houses were in a state to catch and burn amazingly. Clarendon says, "The fire and the wind continued in the same excess all Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, till afternoon, and flung and scattered brands into all quarters; the nights more terrible than the days, and the light the same, the light of the fire supplying that of the sun." The timidity of the lord mayor favoured the progress of the flames. He at first refused to admit the military to prevent the plunder of the houses, and to keep off" the crowds where efforts were attempted to stop the fire; but nothing of that sort could be done, for the pipes from the New River were found to be empty, and the machine which raised water from the Thames was burnt to ashes. It was proposed to blow up some of the houses with gunpowder, to arrest the progress of the fire; but the aldermen, whose houses would be the first to be exploded, would not allow it, and thus permitted the advance of the raging element without saving their own property. Nearly the whole of the city from the Tower to Temple Bar was soon one raging mass of fire, the glare of which lit up the country for ten miles around.

The terrors of the catastrophe were fearfully aggravated by the wild rumours and suspicions that flew to and fro. It was declared to be the doings of the papists in combination with the French and Dutch, and the pipes of the New River works at Islington being empty confirmed it. One Grant, a catholic and partner in the works, was accused of having turned off the water on the preceding Saturday, and carried away the keys; but it was afterwards shown by the books of the company that Grant was not a partner there till the 25th of that month, three weeks afterwards. There were plenty of people ready to depose that they had seen men carrying about parcels of combustibles, which, on being crushed, burst out in inextinguishable flame, and others throwing fire-balls into houses. There were twenty thousand French resident in the city, and they were declared to be engaged with the catholics to massacre the whole population during the confusion of the fire. The most terrible confusion and terror spread—some were labouring frantically to extinguish the flames, others were hurrying out their goods and conveying them away, others flung from the expected massacre, and others coming out armed to oppose the murderers. Not a foreigner or catholic could appear in the streets without danger of his life. What made it worse, an insane Frenchman, of the name of Hubert, declared that it was he who set fire to the first house, and that his countrymen were in the plot to help him. He was examined, and was so evidently crazed, the judges declared to the king that they gave no credit whatever to his story, nor was there the smallest particle of proof produced; but the jury, in their terror and suspicion, pronounced him guilty, and the poor wretch was hanged. The inscription on the monument after the fire, however, and which was not erased till December, 1830, accused the catholics of being the incendiaries, for which reason. Pope, a catholic, speaking of the locale of the monument, says:—

Where the tall column lifts its head and lies.

"Let the cause be what it would," says Clarendon, "the effect was terrible, for above two parts of three of that great city, and those the most rich and wealthy parts, where the greatest warehouses and the best shops stood, the Royal Exchange, with all the streets about it— Lombard Street, Cheapside, Paternoster Row, S:. Paul's Church, and almost all the other churches in the city, with the Old Bailey, Ludgate, all Paul's Churchyard, even to the Thames, and the greatest part of Fleet Street, all which were places the best inhabited, were all burnt without one house remaining. The value or estimate of what that devouring element consumed, over and above the houses, could never be computed in any degree." The houses were calculated at thirteen thousand two hundred, covering, more or less, one hundred and thirty-six acres. Eighty-nine churches were consumed.

Towards the evening of Wednesday the wind abated, and buildings were blown up to clear the ground round Westminster Abbey, the Temple church, and Whitehall. The next day the weather being calm, the danger was thought to be over, but in the night the fire burst out again in the neighbourhood of the Temple, in Cripplegate, and near the Tower. The king, the duke of York, and many noblemen assisted to blow up houses in those quarters, and thus contributed to save those places, and finally stop the conflagration. Nothing is said so completely to have roused Charles from the arms of his women as this catastrophe, and both he and the duke were indefatigable in giving their personal attendance, encouragement, and assistance. They placed guards to prevent thieving, and distributed food to the starving inhabitants. In the fields about Islington and Highgate two hundred thousand people were seen lying on the bare ground, or under huts and tents hastily constructed, with the remains of their property lying about them. Charles was indefatigable in arranging for the accommodation of this unfortunate mass of people in the neighbouring towns and villages, till their houses could be rebuilt. But for months after the enormous field of ruins presented a burning and smoking chaos. Had Charles and his brother conducted themselves at other times as during this brief but awful time, they had left very different names and effects behind them. The great misfortune for the moment even softened down the acrimony of bigotry and party; but this did not last long. An inquiry was instituted, both by the commons and the privy council, into the cause of the calamity, but nothing was elicited to prove it the work of incendiaries. The most remarkable coincidences tending to give in air of probability to Hubert's self-accusation, were some disclosures on the trial of the conspirators in the preceding April, that they had fixed their scheme for burning the city to take place on the 3rd of September, and it actually broke out in the night of the 2nd; and a prophecy, based on an explanation of the "Apocalypse," that the Romish Babylon should be consumed by fire in 1666. The fire happened in the very year, but was spoiled by its being the English instead of the Roman Babylon which was destroyed. The people at large firmly believed the plague and the fire judgments for the sins of the king and court. Whether that were the cause or not, the result was an inestimable blessing, the city rising in a far more open and substantial form, with better drainage, and thus effectually banishing the plague.